Magliocco, swordfish, and Gossip Girl

That’s the inimitable Shawnté Salabert, writer, voiceover artist, and song plugger for Sugaroo (my band NN+’s licensing agent). She’s the one who got our track “Catastrophe” (click to listen to preview) into Gossip Girl tonight. (Hey, I know it’s not Master Piece Theatre but if the teenage female American demographic digs my music, I ain’t complaining!)

“Catastrophe” is one of my favorite tracks: I wrote it in NYC with Céline Dijon back in 2007 (seems like a lifetime ago). Tonight’s episode also features another song I wrote and recorded with Céline in New York many years ago, when we played in another now unmentionable French band together. It’s called “Les Sauvages.”

I got to meet and thank Shawnté in person on Thursday when I went to visit the mother office and have dinner with my old friend and music biz veteran Michael Nieves, who cooked up a delicious swordfish steak, which we paired with a bottle of 2009 Terre di Balbia Balbium (I had tasted it earlier that day at a trade tasting and swiped the bottle from the rep).

This 100% Magliocco from Calabria, raised by Venica & Venica, is one of the most exciting wines from Southern Italy that I’ve tasted this year (and I’ve been tasting a lot of southern Italian wines recently for a new consulting gig).

From what I understand, some (or all?) of the grapes are briefly dried in the vineyard before vinification. I was blown away by the freshness of this wine, its balanced alcohol (a little higher than I like but nicely settled in the wine), and its juicy cherry and plum flavors and bright acidity. Extremely yummy wine, excellent with Michael’s roast swordfish steak dusted with paprika.

Thanks again, Michael and Shwanté: for the placement and the rocking piece of fish!

I may not be a rock star…

but sometimes I get to hang out with rock stars.

Megan Hickey aka The Last Town Chorus the other night at the Bellyup Tavern in Solana Beach, CA. Megan’s unique over-driven, space-echoed lap steel tone is mesmerizing.

Megan Hickey aka The Last Town Chorus and her music were introduced to me a few years ago by our mutual friend (and her manager) Michael Nieves. I used to perform with her in Manhattan and Brooklyn and did some recording with her for her current album, Wire Waltz.

Megan’s a true original: she plays over-driven lap steel, dripping in sexy psychedelic space echo, and her vocal melodies meander beautifully and often hauntingly over rootsy, edgy countrified chord changes.

She gave me a shout out the other night during her excellent show at the Bellyup Tavern in Solana Beach, CA (my favorite venue to see live music in the San Diego area, a great-sounding wood-paneled room replete with old-school surfer paraphernalia). She’s touring solo, accompanied by an Ipod mix. It was a trip to hear myself play from the audience!

Besides rocking it, she infuses her show with irresistible personality and humor: she likes to be introduced as “the Grammy-award-wanting The Last Town Chorus.”

If you happen to be reading from the west coast, she’s coming soon to a town near you.

Megan is one of the nicest folks I’ve met in the business. I had a blast recording with her for her current release, Wire Waltz. I may not be a rock star but…