As a hired gun for such renowned hard rockers as Rob Halford, David Lee Roth, and Marilyn Manson, guitarist John5 got to show his six-string skills -- but only to a degree. With the focus mainly on songwriting, he wasn't able to shred away at will. This all changed when John5 started issuing solo albums, such as his 2005 effort, Songs for Sanity. Issued a year after 2004's Vertigo, his debut for Shrapnel (a label known mostly for instrumental metal guitar releases), John5 returned with an album that proved even more diverse than its predecessor. For longtime fans, John5's ability to tackle a wide variety of music shouldn't come as much of a surprise, as he's also appeared alongside k.d. lang and Leah Andreone. Still, it's a downright hoot to hear a supposed metal guitarist playing bluegrass licks, as he does on the tracks "Fiddlers" and the album opening "Perenium" (which features a guest spot by none other than Albert Lee). John5 also shows off his love of country even further on "Behind the Nut Love," a track on which he replicates the sound of pedal steel guitar. But Songs for Sanity is certainly not all for the cowboy hat/boot-wearing crowd, as evidenced by the simply shredding on "Blues Balls," as well as a rocking track that features a cameo by Steve Vai on "Perenium." Although he may wear ghoulish make-up and attire, Songs for Sanity proves once again that you should never judge a book by its cover.
AllMusic Review by Greg Prato