Down in the Cellar
Attention, wine snobs: Here’s your bard! Yes, it’s that Al Stewart, with the reedy voice and the English accent you may remember from his 1976 hit “Year of the Cat.” On this vintage-Y2K recording, reviewed here to tout his Saturday appearance at the Crest, Stewart waxes euphoric about fine wines and the people who drink them, from Margaux the Republican who drives a European car and buys expensive soap (I kid you not) to Stephanie the amateur Egyptologist to, um, lots of interesting folks. Stewart’s folk-derived material is always innocuously pleasant at least; his cover of Bert Jansch’s “Soho” is cool. But the secret weapon here is stellar guitarist Laurence Juber, the onetime lead guitarist in Paul McCartney’s Wings. Juber’s guitar work is jaw-droppingly swell. But a soft-rock concept album about rampant oenophilia? Yikes.