NQ Arbuckle The Last Supper in a Cheap Town

Neville Quinlan was a popular member of the Toronto music industry before revealing his own creative side. The transformation into NQ Arbuckle, barroom balladeer, has been an impressive one. His debut disc, Hanging The Battle-Scarred Pinata, revealed that he is a colourful storyteller, and his tales of drunks, losers and lovers were both entertaining and in possession of a ring of truth. This, his second disc, confirms his talent. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that he has some equally able friends to call upon. Leading the way is producer/guitarslinger Luke Doucet, who wears both hats here. His core band includes Mark and Peter Kesper (Hawksley Workman) and guest players include Blue Rodeo’s James Gray, Bob Wiseman and Bob Egan. Chiming in on backing vocals are Erin Parton, Carolyn Mark, Dottie Cormier, Melissa McClelland and Erin Smith. Not too shabby, eh! All this rich musicality makes a fine complement to NQ’s gritty vocals and lyrics. His themes and backdrops remain consistent, as cigarettes appear in five songs, and beer and dirty dishes in a bunch more, but there is some evocative imagery amidst the grime. There is a nice variety of tempos here, as tunes range from sparsely melancholy laments to more spirited romps like "I Can See the Moon” and "Outside the Stars.” Watch out for the hidden track at the end too. This is a fine effort worthy of real exposure. (Six Shooter)