Johnny V's House Rent Party Band Agnostically Eclectic: Slidequette and Other Such-A-Muchisms

Some records are beyond reproach and this is one of them. The criminally under-heralded Johnny V — a contender for Maple Blues’ Guitarist of the Year — proves a force to be reckoned with and Agnostically Eclectic — his fourth solo record — is the most payback you’ll ever realise for your CD-buying dollar. Jam-packed with adrenalised blues’n’boogie, the Calgary-based blues commando underlines his richly diverse musical pedigree with a supercharged trip across 17 songs covering favourite topics: from sex to suicide bombers, cheatin’ to cow punching, Allah to alimony — real life, with a twist. First and foremost, this is a labour of love to the late, great King Biscuit Boy, and The V-Meister goes the extra mile by including an aggressive petition to nominate Richard Newell to his rightful place in the Canadian Music Hall of Fame: his high-octane "Return of Richard’s Biscuit,” a touching farewell. A truly eclectic tapestry of blues, rock, jazz, R&B, skronk, funk and boundless boogie gushes from the dark corners of Johnny’s soul — his passionate guitar playing anointed with a heavenly tone, while his ability to arrange runs circles around anything else you’re used to listening to ("Branding by Midnight!”). His warm, whiskey-cured howl is the perfect foil to the smooth refinement of his 12-cylinder sound, permitting his lyrics to be heard and appreciated. The best tracks are originals ("Suicide Bomber Blues,” "Sprinklerhead”) but the covers ("Baby, Please Don’t Go,” "Stop”) become his own. Spin "Tartaria,” a brilliant instrumental epic that marries Eastern music to Stax-tough R&B, incorporating a million mind-bending sound bites (Mission Impossible theme?) and do your world and music collection a big favour. (Spinning Gold)