If you like jazz at all and are looking for something to do tonight (Jan. 2, 2014) and in range of Santa Fe New Mexico, don't think twice, go hear John Rangel (piano) and Michael Anthony (guitar) play jazz at El Mesón, from 7-9 PM. (Call 505 983 6756 for reservations... these guys have a following.) You can get good to great tapas there, and maybe a nice glass of fino sherry, while listening. The fried eggplant is not to be missed.
Figured I should get a few quick comments out on some wines while still timely... here's the first
The 2012 Irpinia (DOC) Falanghina (grape) from Terredora di Paolo, $15 at Susan's Fine Wines and Spirits in Santa Fe, was excellent and unusual. Just the sort of thing I was hoping for in an unfamiliar Italian white. Strong flavors, a little bit of almond and lemon and maybe minerality, typically Italian hint of bitterness, a nice smooth but not glyceriny feel in the mouth, a long finish. Surprisingly high in alcohol (14%) but able to stand up to it with concentration of flavor and freshness. Not something I would age, not super super complex, but not one-dimensional either. Great clarity of flavor, vigorous but pretty balanced. Not inexpensive but a very fair price for the quality...you are unlikely to get such concentrated flavor combined with balance, even elegance, for less. I wasn't familiar with the grape variety, a local grape of Campania, the Italian region in which Naples is situated. I'd never been to Susan's before, although I'd read and heard good things, so I checked it out and was impressed by what looks like a carefully chosen and interesting selection. This wine was recommended by Susan herself; based on it, I'll be going back for more of her recommendations.
In case there are any readers who will be in Santa Fe tomorrow, I thought I'd point out what should be an enjoyable show: Todd and the Fox, at the original (2nd St.) location of the Second Street Brewery, at 6 PM (June 16th, 2012). You can check out some of their music here at Reverbnation. Todd Eric Lovato plays a mean electric banjo (and some guitars), while simultaneously providing the bass line with a foot-pedal keyboard. Erik Sawyer's drumming is excellent and he's found the perfect sound for this kind of folk/bluegrass/psychedelic-rock Americana thing these guys have going. What's that you ask? Yes, of course they even mix in a little reggae at times ("Bad Friend"). Plenty of humor in the music and a really enjoyable groove. I heard them at the Cowgirl Café last year. You can probably decide whether or not you'll like the show by asking yourself how you'll react to Pink Floyd's Shine On You Crazy Diamond covered on electric banjo. If the idea puts you off, you're too uptight for this show. (It's a gas, although I can't guarantee they'll play it.) The house-made beer on tap and the food at Second Street are pretty good too (we're talking hearty somewhat pubbish fare, not foodie fussiness, of course, but it's on the fresh and carefully cooked side for such fare), so it should be a good time all around. If you aren't in Santa Fe, you can get a taste of the music as mentioned above, though sadly, not Shine On. Their Soundcloud page has a few more tunes, and their myspace page doesn't completely overlap (check out the live-at-Santa-Fe-Sol guit-boogie "Cougar", and the humorous doo-wop of "Cruise Line" ("I know that you you drive a muscle car / '69 Chevy Malibu / and me girl / I drive a Subaru Outback / but that doesn't matter girl / because I love you"), either. The newgrass blues lament "I Miss My Girl", on most of these pages, is pretty nice too. Overall their stuff is a nice mix between some more serious moments and good clean (er, if you edit a couple of the lyrics slightly) fun.