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PRESS ARTICLES IN ENGLISH     (Articles en français ci-dessous)

OKOTOKS Western Wheel – Wed October 5, 2016

written by Tammie Rollie

An Ottawa band with time to monkey around during its western Canada tour this month chose Black Diamond as its playground.  Juno award-winning MonkeyJunk Band is wrapping up the release tour for its fifth album Time to Roll with a performance at The Stop Coffee House and Gathering Place Oct. 8 at 8 p.m. The tour is also taking them to Calgary, Jasper, St. Albert, Camrose, Lethbridge, Banff and Coleman to promote the Nov. 4 release.  “Mike (Kingston, The Stop owner) reached out to us last year and said, ‘If you have an opening in your schedule and you will be in the area we would love to have you,’” said drummer and percussionist Matt Sobb. “At that time we didn’t have an opening on that particular trip. On this trip a few things fell through that prevented us from going to B.C. so we needed to fill in some dates to cap off the Alberta tour. I went through some emails to see if we could hook something up.”  This is MonkeyJunk Band’s first performance in Black Diamond.

“The cool thing about our band is we started in very humble beginnings in the corner of a pub in Ottawa,” he said. “We’ve played all different sizes of venues from very small to festival crowds that are tens of thousands of people. Coming from those smaller, humble beginnings it’s fun for us to go back to the smaller venue.”  Concert-goers anticipating a relaxing performance in a smaller setting will be in for a surprise, Sobb said.  “It’s a high energy show, but we hope to not blow their faces right off,” he said. “We hope to melt them a little bit.”

Time to Roll was recorded and mixed in Ontario over three weeks last spring, combining aspects of the first four albums and lyrical collaborations including Tom Wilson of Blackie & the Rodeo Kings, Lee Harvey Osmond of Junkhouse, Paul Reddick and Matthew Chaffey of The Split and co-produced by Ken Friesen of The Tragically Hip and Blue Rodeo, said Sobb.  It follows on the heels of MonkeyJunk’s 2015 fall release Moon Turn Red.  “Our first four records were spaced two years apart and this is just a little over a year later,” Sobb said. “While on tour in Eastern Europe last spring we had a couple of days off and started throwing together song ideas. In a couple of hours we had seven songs. The creative juices were flowing.”  Unlike most bands, MonkeyJunk writes the music first and the lyrics follow.  “The three of us are instrumentalists first,” Sobb said. “We find it really easy to write complete arrangements. A lot of songwriters either do it concurrently with music or start with lyrics and build music around lyrics.”  Vocalist Steve Marriner, who plays baritone guitar, harmonica and the organ, has the most input on the lyrics and when he, Sobb and lead guitarist Tony D, are stuck they call in for support.

“We’ve been lucky to have some really great people that we’ve leaned on – Paul Reddick being one,” Sobb said. “He’s a very poetic dude and has written complete lyrics for us in the past. When we write a song and can’t manage to get the lyrics together we will send the music to him and he will send it back with a complete set of lyrics and it will be great.”  Tom Wilson also contributed to this album. Sobb said he originally wrote lyrics for their third record, but MonkeyJunk didn’t find a use for them until this year. The track is called Blue Lights Go Down.  “I said, ‘This is good stuff, we need to use this,’” he said. “We took his lyrics, we had a musical idea we thought would be suitable and we smashed them together.  “We rearranged them quite a bit and built the song around .his lyrics. It’s a cool tune and I’m really glad we were able to make it come together.”

MonkeyJunk Band started off as a blend of swamp rock roots and blues in 2008, but is constantly evolving with styles and influences that come and go, said Sobb.  “You go through phases of being into certain things and certain things that influence you,” he said. “We have a really wide variety of influences. All of those show themselves in different spots and different times.”  Time to Roll offers a glimpse of styles from each of the previous records combined with a snapshot of where they are now, said Sobb.  “It’s pretty wide ranging,” he said. “The basis of our sound is deeply rooted in blues and traditional blues. The band went from a more traditional type of sound to a pretty hard rocking band. There is a bit of a 70s rock and roll thing happening on a song or two. It’s definitely a more contemporary sound.”

MonkeyJunk Band’s talent and diversity earned 20 Maple Blues Awards, two Canadian Independent Music Awards, a Blues Music Award in the United States and a Juno Award.

To purchase tickets to see the MonkeyJunk Band perform in Black Diamond call 403-933-3002 or drop by The Stop on Government Road. Tickets cost $35

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EARSHOT ONLINE reviews – Sun November 29, 2015

Written by Steve Marlow

With over 20 Maple Blues Awards and a Juno to their credit, MonkeyJunk are pretty much blues royalty in Canada now. With their fourth album, Moon Turn Red, the band has expanded their show past the traditional blues styles they’ve already explored and into some more mainstream guitar rock sounds. Practically all of the album is a smooth mix of electric blues, gritty rock with a bit of soul thrown in for good measure. “Light it Up” leads the album off with a bruising southern rock vibe, which continues through the next two tracks, “You” and “Show Me Yours”. By the time “Hot Hot Papa” comes in, the band has hit their groove. This track is a simmering, gritty blues rock track with guest vocals by Canadian blues-rock legend David Wilcox. “Love Attack”, the fifth track, seeing Gordie Johnson of Big Sugar on the organ, and his reggae influence is readily apparent, with a laid back groove and a socially conscious message to the lyrics. The remaining 5 tracks shows the band building wonderful and smooth blues rock, until the slower, soulful album ender, “Meet Me at Midnight”. This is a great album from a great band, and shows the members comfortable in both the blues groove and expanding their sound to include more and more styles.

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Canada Online News | Gonzo Online!- The Record Box – Sun Sept 13, 2015

Written by John The Rock Doctor Kereiff

MOON TURN RED MonkeyJunk (Stony Plain) *****

Oh BABY! This Ottawa-based trio’s fourth long player is a scorching selection of rockin’ blues tunes ready to take on the world. If you’re into stuff like David Wilcox, Big Sugar, JJ Grey & Mofro and Black Keys, MonkeyJunk is singing your songs and I can guarantee that this is the way you want to hear ‘em!

“With each record we make, we feel we’re pushing more boundaries” says singer/ baritone guitarist/ harmonica and organ player Steve Marriner. “We explored grooves we’ve never hit on before, and experimented with new sounds.” That much is evident as they kick the door open with Light it Up, a party anthem if there ever was one. It is this continued forward motion that makes each MonkeyJunk release even better than the last, and the biggest reason Moon Turn Red the best one of all- so far.

Some really cool grooves over the course of these 10 songs, from the reggae vibe of Love Attack to the aforementioned Light It Up and Hot, Hot Papa (a Wilcox original, David plays guitar and sings on this one), to soulful love songs in Learn How To Love and Meet Me At Midnight that will really put some lead in your pencil. The diversity of grooves and vibes had me thinking of Big Sugar primarily, so it was not a huge surprise to learn from the press kit that Gordie Johnson is buddies with lead guitarist Tony D. “Gordie and I both come out of the blues- we’ve known each other for over 25 years” says Tony. “It was serendipitous that he happened to be touring in the vicinity (when we were recording). After all these years, we finally got a chance to work together!”

Moon Turn Red is grimy in all the right places, a collection of songs that make you want to move- either get up on the dance floor, or just jump in the car and go. It’s an outstanding addition to an already impressive body of work, and an example of musical camaraderie. Their passion, conviction and dedication to their music makes itself known in every lick, beat, lyric and solo. Great song writing and intuitive musicianship make this one hell of an album, on of the greats of 2015 in any genre.

ESSENTIALS: Light It Up, Love Attack, Learn How To Love

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ICONfetch.com   MonkeyJunk – Moon Turn Red review

written by Tony Peters

Blues, rock, funk – you’ll find elements of it all on Moon Turn Red, the new album from MonkeyJunk.  But, what sets this record apart from their earlier releases is that everything blends together in a cohesive sound.  The result is their strongest album to date.

Things kick off with the chugging swamp rock of “Light it Up,” featuring killer slide guitar.  There’s a harder, decidedly rock edge throughout the record.  “You” has some fantastic harmonica playing and moves along to a groove reminiscent of ZZ Top.  They’ve also improved their lyrics – there’s great wordplay on songs like the bawdy “Show Me Yours” and the Robin Trower-eque “Live Another Day.”  The Texas shuffle of “Love Attack” cleverly references a fragment of the Dragnet theme.

A pair of ballads – “Learn How to Love” and “Meet Me at Midnight” show off a soulful side of the band, and how Steve Marriner has become a great vocalist.  They’re even joined by Canadian guitar legend David Wilcox on a searing cover of his “Hot Hot Papa,”  the disc’s lone song not written by the band.

They’ve got a silly name, but this is s seriously good record.  Moon Turn Red is the kind of album that can only come from years of playing together.  They should definitely be proud of this one.

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WINNIPEG FREE PRESS – Thursday October 22nd, 2015
written by Jeff Monk

CANUCK blues-rock hybrid band MonkeyJunk may not yet be a household name, but these Juno Award winners should be at the top of your listening list. With their fourth release, the incendiary Moon Turns Red, the trio throw down an eclectic mix of songs that sets the bar doubly high for any pretenders in the business.

The band’s rocking side is evident on powerful cuts such as the jittery, slide-guitar-driven opener Light It Up and the powerful Lucky One. The mix-’em ups here are the real gold for music fans. The Hendrixy reggae-funk of Love Attack and the ZZ Top-esque plaint of You colour with uncommonly vibrant shades of blue. Steve Marriner does triple-plus duty here as lead singer, harp player, keysman and baritone guitarist, yet still manages to leave just enough room for lead guitarist Tony Diteodoro to toss in some blazing licks.

By taking some chances and wandering outside the customary limits of the genre, MonkeyJunk has created one of its best albums to date. ****

DOWNLOAD: Show Me Yours, Light It Up

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OTTAWA CITIZEN – September 30, 2015
written by Lynn Saxberg

MonkeyJunk

CD release gigs

Oct. 2-3, Rainbow Bistro, 76 Murray St.

Tickets: $20 advance, available through Ticketweb.ca

Get ready to hear MonkeyJunk rock their hearts out on the new album, Moon Turn Red.

For their fourth full-length release, veteran Ottawa musicians Steve Marriner, Tony Diteodoro and Matt Sobb have come up with tunes that are crisper, punchier and way more danceable than before, as proven by the folks kicking up their heels in the grass during MonkeyJunk’s rip-roaring set at the Neat in the Woods festival last weekend.

There was a sense of celebration in the air that day that was enhanced by the new Junk songs, and the obvious delight the band members took in rolling them out. And how serendipitous that the album’s title happened to reflect the weekend’s big lunar event, a blood moon eclipse.

Sheer coincidence, they insisted during an interview and video shoot last week at the Record Centre, as music lovers browsed for vinyl in one of Ottawa’s coolest hangouts. The three swear that no astronomers were consulted when they sat down to name the new album; they simply took a line from a song.

What was intentional about the creation of the record was the desire to move away from a traditional blues sound, an evolution that’s been happening slowly but surely throughout their recording career.

“We’ve kinda been pigeonholed in the blues world a bit,” said drummer Sobb, “not that there’s anything wrong with that, but musically we wanted to tear the shackles off. People get preconceived notions of what a blues band might sound like, and often times, that’s an unfortunate thing. Boring and slow.”

“After a while, when you put out shuffle after shuffle, you kinda get lost in the shuffle,” quipped guitarist Diteodoro with a chuckle before Marriner jumped in to clarify.

“Are we a blues band? Yes, but we’re also a soul band, a funk band, a rock band. It depends on the day,” he said, pointing to their ability to entertain a gray-haired theatre audience in central Alberta, or a slam-dancing student crowd packed into a greasy rock bar in Poland.

Back, once again, in Ken Friesen’s Almonte-area studio, the focus was on catchy rock songs with a positive spin, including several co-written with Canadian bluesman Paul Reddick. Light It Up is a party song that would make a great playoff anthem. You and Show Me Yours are charged with energy. And while the reggae-tinged Love Attack and the soaring Live Another Day reveal strong socio-political awareness in the lyrics, essentially the message is that love will triumph.

“A lot of people’s reality is that it’s a day-to-day struggle,” explains Marriner. “But just writing another moaning record isn’t doing anyone any good. A lot of these songs and stories are designed to be uplifting. I came up with the complaining lyrics but wanted something to make the hippies dance at festivals. Sometimes the word ‘love’ is all you need. Everyone loves love.”

Another highlight of the album is the sizzling cover of Hot Hot Papa, which features its creator, Canadian blues-rock legend David Wilcox, as a special guest on guitar and vocals, along with production by Colin Cripps. Wilcox’s style of blues rock has always been a huge influence for all three members of the trio. Diteodoro, in fact, used to play almost all the songs from Wilcox’s 1977 debut album, Out of the Woods, in one of his old bands. “It’s always great to record with one of your heroes,” he said.

Of course, the whole band was thrilled that Wilcox accepted their invitation to play. What’s more, the hot papa himself reworked a line in the song to capture the moment: “The dreams I had, the thoughts I thunk,” Wilcox sings, ”I got to make a record with MonkeyJunk.”

Formed by three noted Ottawa musicians in 2008, MonkeyJunk was born to fill a Sunday-night residency at Irene’s Pub, originally with a strong blues foundation. Marriner is the trio’s singer, baritone guitarist, and plays harmonica and organ, while Diteodoro is the wiz on lead guitar and Sobb anchors the rhythm on drums.

Over the years, the band has won 20 Maple Blues Awards, two Canadian Independent Music Awards, a U.S. Blues Music Award and the 2012 Juno Award for blues recording of the year. Signed to the respected Canadian roots label, Stony Plain Records, they tour steadily and have a devoted following of fans who call themselves MonkeyJunkies.

What’s next for the made-in-Ottawa supergroup?

Hopes are that songs from the new album will make their way to film or TV soundtracks, and maybe propel them onto a tour with a bigger act. “We’ve been doing this for almost eight years and we’ve really honed all aspects of our band,” says Sobb. “Our show is rocking. I think it’s time to really take a step up to a higher rung on the ladder, and get it out to a wider audience.”

Adds Diteodoro: “We just hope that we gain new fans, and that the old fans love it.”

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MONKEYJUNK: MOON TURN RED REVIEW – Blues Rock Review – October 29th, 2015
written by Keri McAlpine

Moon Turn Red is MonkeyJunk’s newest album, their fourth released with Stony Plain Records. The Ottawa-based trio is formed by Steve Marriner on vocals, harmonica, keyboards, baritone guitar; Tony D. on lead guitar and background vocals; and Matt Sobb on drums, percussion, and background vocals.

MonkeyJunk has used this album to perfect a new sound that is sure to excite and satisfy all “Monkey Junkies,” (the name dubbed for fans of the band) and new fans alike. The group’s swamp-rock roots and blues sound stays true while also experimenting with soul, country, jazz, and a psychedelic funk sound throughout the album. Marriner’s raw and free vocals shone through and allow the band’s original sound and strong lyrics to hit home. The album is a mix of rock anthems and heartfelt ballads.

The album opens with, “Light It Up,” which promises to be a sure fire hit and an instant classic for the band. Tracks like “You,” and “Meet me at Midnight” shine through with soulful lyrics and catchy hooks sure to get stuck in the mind after listening. These songs are a great contrast and break from the harder and more classic rock themes covering most of the remaining album. Canadian guitarist David Wilcox is featured on the album. MonkeyJunk did their own take on Wilcox’s song “Hot Hot Papa.” The combination is a sure thing and the song is sure to get listeners excited and on the dance floor.

Overall, MonkeyJunk is a group of solid musicians who have managed to stay consistent with their original sound while also introducing new grooves into an excellent and well-written album.

The Review: 8.5/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– You
– Hot Hot Papa
– Show Me Yours
– Travelin’ Light
– Light It Up

The Big Hit

– Light It Up

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SCENE MAGAZINE – Thursday October 22nd, 2015
written by John Sharpe

Ottawa-based trio MonkeyJunk — Steve Marriner (vocals/harmonica guitar/keys),
Tony D (lead guitar) and Matt Sobb (drums/percussion) — describes their sound as ‘swamp-rock roots and blues’ and listeners will find all of those elements and more on their fourth album, Moon Turn Red. A hard-driving collection of 10 solid tracks, the album also features guest performances by David Wilcox (‘Hot Hot Papa) and Gordie Johnson of Big Sugar fame. MonkeyJunk have always claimed they are more than ‘just a blues band’ and proof of that statement can be found here. ‘Show Me Yours,’ ‘Lucky One’ and ‘Travelin’ Light’ lean towards rock, ‘Meet Me At Midnight has a solid R&B feel, ‘Love Attack’ features a ska/reggae vibe, while Marriner’s vocals on ‘Learn How To Love” and ‘Meet Me At Midnight’ allow him to show off his soulful side.

Performance: B+

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BMAN’s BLUES REPORT – Monday October 5th, 2015

I just received the newest release, Moon Turn Red, from MonkeyJunk and it’s quite good! Opening with Light It Up, lead guitarist Tony D dusts the slide and they’re off to the races behind Steve Marriner on lead vocal and harp backed by Tony and drummer Matt Sobb. This is a swift track with slippery slide and rolling harp riffs… a super opener. Driving blues rocker, You, has a really nice guitar vamp (think Whiskey Train) and Marriner sounds quite a bit like Paul Rogers with cool vocal backing and again solid harp work. Very nice! Show Me Yours is a solid rocker but with a taste of Tone Loc with Marriner’s smooth vocals and warm keyboard work. David Wilcox’s rocker Hot Hot Papa features Wilcox on vocal and guitar and the track has a real ZZ Top like swagger. Stinging guitar soloing and a driving beat make this one of the total standouts on the track. Love Attack has a definite reggae feel and sets a terrific groove. Breaking from the traditional rhythm on the chorus the band adds a more commercial sound but when it returns it hits hard. I really like this track, it’s Louisiana feel on percussion, and the intelligent guitar playing from Tony. Live Another Day has a whole different spin with a Uriah Heep kind of feel. One of my least favorite tracks on the release, it still is interesting and well performed. Marriner lays down a solid and progressive harp solo and Tony rips a pretty nice guitar solo of his own. Learn How To Love is a really cool track with excellent guitar effects. It’s really a simple ballad but the melody, vocal blending and precise instrumentation is captivating. Lucky One is really Matt Sobb’s track to lead with it’s hot drum work. Marriner of course is on top with his excellent vocals and Tony D is driving on guitar but it’s the beat that makes this track float. Travelin’ Light is a straight up rocker with radio styling. A solid melody and a clever rhythm give this track wheels and Tony slides into home on guitar with speed and accuracy. Meet Me At Midnight has a cool R&B feel with a light funk. Nicely blended vocal harmonies and slick guitar work bring this track if for a solid closer.

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CANADIAN BEATS – MOON TURN RED REVIEW – Monday October 5th, 2015

by Jenna Melanson

Ottawa, ON based trio, MonkeyJunk is made up of Tony D (Guitar/Slide Guitar/ Vocals), Steve Marriner (Vocals/ Harmonica/ Baritone Guitar) & Matt Sobb (Drums/ Cymbals/ Percussion/ Vocals). The band has been around since 2008 and has just released their new album, “Moon Turns Red” on September 25, 2015 through Stony Plain Records.

“Moon Turn Red” consists of ten tracks, including a cover of the classic David Wilcox track, “Hot Hot Papa”, in which David Wilcox is featured.

The whole album is noteworthy and shows the bands talent and dedication to their music, although I had two songs that stood out to me. “Light It Up” is the first on the album and pulls you in right away, with the intense Blues/ Rock sound and addictive lyrics. The other that I can’t get out of my head is the eighth song, “Lucky One”. It features a highly contagious beat and lyrics that you can’t help but sing along with.

If you’re looking for a high energy album, this may be the one you have been waiting for.  MonkeyJunk excels at what they do, and if you’re into roots, blues or rock, I recommend you check this out!

Rating: 4/5

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ROCK.COM – October 10th, 2015

written by Steve Rosen

When members of MonkeyJunk are asked, “Are you a blues band?” they take a collective breath, look at each other and in chorus fashion reply, “Yes and no.” It is a confusing answer but an honest one. Yes, the trio – vocalist/guitarist Steve Marriner, lead guitarist Tony D and drummer Matt Sobb – employ blues riffs and blues harmonics but the threesome is much more than that.

What “that” is spills all over their new CD, Moon Turn Red. The blues is drowned in rock on such tracks as “Hot Hot papa,” “Live Another Day,” “Lucky One” and others. Additionally, there are elements of country, jazz, and straight up rock and roll.

What makes MonkeyJunk’s music so interesting and different is the substitution of a baritone guitar in place of a normal four-string bass. Marriner rolls out a bottom end while at the same time churning out harmonic riffs that act as counterparts for the main guitar lines.

A truly fascinating band and mindblowing CD. Way more than just a blues band, MonkeyJunk has brought the disparate elements of their sound together on Moon Turn Red to create a truly modern-sounding sonic tapestry.

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KINGSTON MUSIC REVIEWS – Oct. 13, 2015

written by Matt Hartwick

Just releasing their fourth release titled Moon Turn Red MonkeyJunk is riding high with this high energy Rock and Blues Album. Moon Turn Red has also involved a few high end players either behind the Glass and Board or lending a musical hand.

MonkeyJunk starts the album right on the perfect note and tempo with “Light It Up”.  Just with the title of the song is enough to set the album off, not to mention the perfect timing Steve lays down with the title within the chorus. Man when that solo harmonica hits your ears, it’s just at such a sweet velocity and sound, I could really see this being built into a beautiful setting and sound when they play “Light It Up” live. To me it sounds as if MonkeyJunk laid out the right length and momentum within each of the solos in the song just to antagonize your ears and gets you pumped for the rest of the album.

The album definitely has a collective sound and approach to the album as well. While still carrying on with their own sound MonkeyJunk also let their special guests put forth their flavours onto their tracks as well. Take in point the fantastic cover of “Hot Hot Papa”. MonkeyJunk were able to secure the one and only David Wilcox to perform on the track. The basis and spirit of the song is still intact but the song has definitely taken a serious and equally enjoyable listen. For blues guitar aficionado this song is a definite hit for you. The tempo has been taken down a few notches but I found this turn doesn’t damper the song in anyway. Another favourite note I have to make on the song is when David changes up the lyrics just little bit, I’m sure you will get a little bit of a chuckle out of the lyrics as well.

Following “Hot Hot Papa” is Reggae and Blues induced song titled “Love Attack”. For the special guest with this track they recruited one of my favourite musicians Gordie Johnson to play the Hammond Organ, so it’s easy to hear and say where the Reggae feel from the song comes from. The extra kick with the gang backing vocals was a nice touch to help push out the title and strengthen out the chorus that little bit more.

“Live Another Day”, is an interesting song to listen to especially with the intro that lasts for a little over thirty seconds.  As I listened to the intro for the first time I didn’t really foresee the song taking the turn that the song progressed into. I found that there are a few different sounds and eras that went into this track. There is a definite hint of the eighties within the guitars. But there is no mistaking the Stevie Wonder influence within the guitars as well, when I first listened to the song I immediately thought of Stevie and a take away sound from “Superstition” especially with the tone of the guitar. Here is another song that begs your eyes to see MonkeyJunk live; I know I am driven to see the pedal work for this song.

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ANTI MUSIC – ROOT 66
written by Kevin Wierzbicki

This blues-rockin’ trio starts the album with “Light it Up,” a tune that will definitely have you pressing the accelerator hard if you’re listening in the car. Fans not yet familiar with MonkeyJunk but who like classic rock will find that lead singer Steve Marriner sounds not unlike Paul Rodgers from Bad Company, especially noticeable on cuts like “You” and the slightly-funky “Live another Day.” Other album stand-outs are the who’s-gonna-take-home-the-hottie tale of “Lucky One” and the Robert Cray-style set closer, “Meet Me at Midnight.” With one exception everything here is self-penned, and impressively so.

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PARCBENCH – October 1st, 2015
written by Greg Victor

‘Moon Turn Red,’ the fourth album by MonkeyJunk is more of the consistent band’s energetic and gutsy blues/rock. The album is a hard-driving collection of 10 solid tracks. ‘Moon Turn Red’ showcases some exciting grooves and plenty of soulful original material.

The three piece band consists of: Steve Marriner, on lead vocals, harmonica, rhythm guitar, and keys, guitarist; Tony D, on lead guitar; and Matt Sobb on drums and percussion. The Ottawa based trio — Canada’s most acclaimed blues/roots music band — are Juno Award winners and have taken home top honors four times at the Maple Blues Awards. One listen to ‘Moon Turn Red’ and it’s easy to see why MonkeyJunk has achieved so much notoriety.

MonkeyJunk describes their sound as “swamp-rock roots and blues” and, as usual, they deliver what they promise.

Essential Downloads: “Light It Up,” “Show Me Yours,” “Lucky One.”

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DON AND SHERYL’S BLUES BLOG – October 1st, 2015

written by Sheryl and Don Crow

Ottawa-based trio MonkeyJunk have always been one of our favorite bands since their creation back in 2008.  The three players–Tony D on lead guitar, Steve Marriner on vocals, harp, and keys, and Matt Sobb on drums–all had impressive resumes’ within the Canadian blues/roots community, and, as MonkeyJunk, have won twenty Maple Leaf Awards for blues, and one JUNO Award, the Canadian Grammy.

And so it is with their latest set, “Moon Turn Red,” on Stony Plain Records.  It is nine band originals and one cool cover that shows why they are so popular, and why we dig ’em so much–they keep listeners on their toes with their eclectic mixes of straight blues, blues-rock, and roots music, and, on this set, even some garage-rock and socially-topical tunes.

The set blasts off with Tony D’s slide wailin’ over a freight train boogie beat in the band’s anthemic “Light It Up, shake ’em on down, when I come to your town!”  Two cuts are quite socially-conscious.  “Love Attack” follows a reggae beat, with Steve blowin’ some great harp throughout, and “Live Another Day,” set over an ominous groove, reminds us that ‘words come cheap when your life ain’t on the line,” and both songs serve as testimony to the direction the world seems to be headed.

On a much lighter note, a woman with looks so killer that she can make the “moon turn red,” has “every mother’s son wishin’ he was The Lucky One!”  The set closes with a sweet shot of roots-rock, as Steve begs an old lover to rekindle their flame and “Meet Me At Midnight, just like we used to.”

We had two favorites, too.  The braggadocio-filled swagger of “Hot Hot Papa” is as raucous as it gets, serving as the set’s lone cover.  It was written by David Wilcox, who guests on guitar and vocals.  And, a lusty look at love is “Show Me Yours and I’ll show you mine,” with a retro, Sixties’-psychedelic groove fueled by organ from Steve.

MonkeyJunk just gets better with each set.  “Moon Turn Red” is a fine testimony to their passions for this music and the fact that great players with great material will always win out!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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NEW CANADIAN MUSIC -September 29th, 2015

written by Kerry Doole

The trophy case for Ottawa blues meisters MonkeyJunk must be straining under the weight of all the awards the virtuosic trio has scored. In just seven years together, they’ve amassed 20 (!) Maple Blues Awards, two Canadian Independent Music Awards, a Blues Music Award (USA), and, in 2012, a JUNO Award for Best Blues Album (To Behold). Prior to teaming up, Steve Marriner, Tony D and Matt Sobb had already achieved individual success, playing with the likes of Harry Manx, Buddy Guy, Dutch Mason, Kim Wilson and more. Moon Turn Red, their fourth album, finds them firing on all cylinders. Sure to grab the attention of blues-rock fans is the presence of the legendary David Wilcox, who plays guitar and sings on MonkeyJunk’s cover of his classic “Hot Hot Papa.” “It was a real thrill for all of us to work with David Wilcox as he is one of our musical heroes,” says Matt Sobb. Check out that cut and “Travelling Light” for a taste of how well these guys can (blues) rock. Gordie Johnson (Big Sugar) also guested, confirming the peer respect earned by MonkeyJunk. The album was co-produced by the band and Ken Friesen (Blue Rodeo), with assistance by Colin Cripps (Crash Vegas, Blue Rodeo) on “Hot Hot Papa”. We fully expect more awards glory to be generated by this one. Cool trivia: William Shatner terms them “The Sultans of Swamp R&B”.

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TOP 100 CANADIAN BLOG MUSIC REVIEW OF THE DAY: MONKEYJUNK – MOON TURN RED – September 28th, 2015
written by Bob Mersereau

Hey, did you catch that super moon Sunday night?  It looked pretty cool, turning red in the eclipse and all that.  Now, how far in advance did MonkeyJunk know about this thing, timing the release of their latest album, Moon Turn Red, to last Friday, just two days before the event?  I’m thinking freaky coincidence.

For their fourth, Ottawa’s M-Junk grooves a bit more, rocks a bit more.  Taking a cue from ’70’s bands, the band struts through a set of arena-sized numbers, lead singer Steve Marriner channeling his inner Paul Rodgers.  Meanwhile Tony D gets to blast out saucy lines and even play guitar hero on numbers such as Show Me Yours, with its middle-section solo and funky little accents throughout.  There’s no time for a slow blues at this party.

The group plays homage to a Canadian guitar icon, covering David Wilcox’s Hot Hot Papa, with the man himself sitting in for solos and a vocal verse, putting the fun in funk.  To mix things up, there’s a bit of reggae in Love Attack, with its universal empowerment lyrics classic Marley.  Learn How To Live is the slow one, but still has a dark streak throughout it, no sappy love ballad.  Marriner pours his heart into it, proving himself up for the job on this soul number with punch.  But the core of the set are the album blues rock numbers, which sound like they could have come from your local FM station sometime after 10 PM back in 1976, when the DJ’s could get heavier.  Check out Live Another Day, with its twin guitar line, pounding drums from Matt Sobb,  and tense delivery, it’s exciting and dramatic and tough all over, like the bulk of the disc.

ONLINE VERSION

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JOHN EMMS MUSIC REVIEWS – MonkeyJunk MOON TURN RED – catchy with substance

written by John Emms

If any cd could be called catchy with substance then it’s Moon Turn Red the fourth release from Canada’s MonkeyJunk.

It is impossible not to love the hooks and musicianship on this album.

From the killer tone of Tony D’s slide work on the opener Light It Up, with Steve Marriner ripping a throaty lead vocal and harp behind Matt Sobb’s shuffle one thing is clear.

This band has come to lay it down.

After the push and pull accents of You and the Blues Traveller/Black Keys vibe of Show Me Yours, your ready to hear Hot Hot Papa.

David Wilcox lends his own genius to his classic re-make and if your not dancing on your patio with this, you should take a nap!!!

MJ take their songwriting to a whole other level on the Free/Paul Rodgers vibe of Live Another Day and the gorgeous Luther Allison influenced R & B/ Soul of Meet Me At Midnight.

Showing your influences while creating a unique original sound is a gift.

Mixing that with the chops of this trio just ups that ante.

Moon Turn Red is the band’s most cohesive work to date.

ONLINE VERSION

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ELMORE MAGAZINE – JAN/FEB 2014

By  MA R K  U R I C H E C K

Canadian garage/soul trio Monkeyjunk has a sound that falls somewhere indiscriminately between the slop-barrage of Thickfreakness-era Black Keys and the sinuous R&B of the Ohio Players’ Honey.  On All Frequencies, the band delivers an analog blast of blues-based groove that’s slightly heavier than that of your garden variety, bass-free Americana power trio.  Here, Monkeyjunk takes the muscle of Detroit, the soul of Memphis and the howling hunger of Clarksdale, MS, on a fast train through down-home heartland expression.  Tracks like “You Make a Mess” are highlighted by vocalist Steve Marriner’s blazing, Charles Walker-esque deliveries and a ragged sense of funk.  “Why Are People Like That?” is a hypnotic, midtempo harmonica attack with a touch of detuned guitar sludge, while “Sirens in the Night” is a call-and-response R.L. Burnside stomp.  “Once Had Wings” is where the laid-back British blues of Bad Company meets the anguished chants of Bukka White.  The band’s songwriting acumen is sharp, as witnessed on “Say What?,” a hip, 1960s mod-edged dancer with snappy backing vocals.  Equally as refreshing is “Je Nah Say Kwah,” where the Muscle Shoals sound is interpreted with sweetened Funkadelic-like shades—the spirit moves through this one.  Set apart from the current pack of Hill Country-inspired blues trios by its knack for freewheelin’ soul, Monkeyjunk is an exciting name in an often stagnant niche scene.

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TORONTO STAR – OCT 16, 2013
by

In a typical MonkeyJunk rehearsal, a purposeful give-and-take between singer Steve Marriner, drummer Matt Sobb and guitarist Tony D., riffs are swapped, rhythms chopped and phrases compacted as a real deal tune emerges.

But is it really blues?

That’s a concern for the most decorated Canadian blues band in recent memory, winner of the 2012 Juno Award for blues album of the year for To Behold, and taking home 15 — fifteen! — Maple Blues Awards between 2008 and this year.

But blues purists fret that the Ottawa-based trio is selling out, insisting it should be on a divine mission to re-purify a music whose purity was mostly idealized from the outset.

“We don’t owe the blues nazis, the blues purists, a thing,” Marriner tells me on the phone. “We’re grateful that people like our music, but some feel they have an ownership over you. The majority of the interviewers who ask about our influences have never heard of five of the 10 musicians we mention.”

“We could play the blues until the cows come home,” says guitarist Tony D (for Diteodoro) from his Ottawa home. “That being said, I grew up wanting to be Jimmy Page. My blues roots came by way of listening to British bands and finding out who they were listening to.”

The band’s unusual no-bass lineup has its roots in historic bass-less blues outfits such as Hound Dog Taylor and the Houserockers. MonkeyJunk’s name came from blues legend Son House — the singer/slide guitarist died in 1988, age 86 — who said that real blues was about the love. “Monkey junk,” the former preacher suggested in an early interview, was all that primal, booty shaking stuff, exactly what its namesake band is after: party music with just a dark edge of desperation and the promise of morning-after redemption.

This Friday’s CD launch party at Hugh’s Room of All Frequencies, the Ottawa-based trio’s third album, should be seen as a group reintroduction. The strange brew on the 10-tune CD mixes Jimi Hendrix’s wah-wah guitar sleaze (“You Make a Mess”), Cajun gumbo (“Je Nah Say Kwah”), old-time gospel (“Once Had Wings”) and Booker T and the MGs-meet-George Harrison (“Swank”).

Yes, the blues makes an appearance, too, beginning with Marriner’s screaming harmonica to start “Right from Wrong.” But that’s the second tune in.

All Frequencies — which bears comparison with The Whites Stripes in their “Icky Thump” mode or The Rolling Stones circa 1964-65 — is about MonkeyJunk buying in, not selling out, the blues, as the band artfully positions itself to tweak the American musical imagination during its upcoming mini tour south of the border, taking them through Kansas City, Mo., Topeka, Kan., and winding up in Austin, Tex., on Nov. 29.

With Tiger in your Tank, MonkeyJunk’s 2009 debut CD, “we were very raw and visceral,” says Sobb, “but as we developed it got to the point where we knew we had to let these other things in to the music.”

MonkeyJunk’s All Frequencies CD release party is at Hugh’s Room, 2261 Dundas St. W., on Oct. 18 starting at 8:30 p.m.

 

ONLINE VERSION

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Toronto Blues Society MAPLE BLUES newsletter – Oct 2013
by John Valentyn

MonkeyJunk garnered so much buzz when they were formed that they were nominated for Best New Artist even before their first CD was released. When it was released it won them multiple awards. Each new disc since then has shown a dramatic development in style and performance and each has been rewarded with yet more awards. They were presenters at the last JUNO Awards ceremony and All Frequencies just might get them to perform at it this time. The title could refer to the eclectic nature of the new songs, with a less overt blues flavour than before. In fact the basic feel of the disc is distinctly blues-rock but with easily enough blues to keep it in this column. It’s worth commenting I think that on To Behold individual songwriting credits were all carefully assigned, here all the original songs are credited to the band, an indication perhaps of unity of purpose.

They don’t need any guests as this trio does it all: Steve Marriner on lead vocals, baritone guitar, keys and lots of harp, Tony D on guitars, with lots of slide; and Matt Sobb on beautifully recorded drums. Marriner’s new baritone guitar gives all frequencies another meaning, nailing down that all-important bass part most effectively. Great pains were taken to prepare a fully analogue recording and that care was obviously extended to what was being recorded as well. Just listen to the opening song, “You Make A Mess (of me)”. It’s a very full sound with Marriner’s guitar fed through a Leslie over Sobb’s pounding drums. Tony D’s fills grow into a masterful wah wah solo, short & sharp – a rocking way to begin. They term their music swamp blues and “Right From Wrong” certainly fits that description, with Marriner’s harp and Tony D’s slide combining for a sound that brings Stevie Ray Vaughan to mind. The only cover is Bobby Charles’ “Why Are People Like That?”, which gets the kind of power-filled arrangement that only MonkeyJunk could provide.

A little bit of funk comes up next with “Je Nah Say Kwah”, with Marriner on keys as well. As for the title, it is phonetically what he sings if not what it should be, perhaps it’s an Ottawa joke. “Sirens In The Night” has a more ambitious lyric, about coping with modern city life, and gets some serious production work, with background vocals and multiple overdubs giving it the appropriate sonic backdrop.

Matt Chaffey gets a writing co-credit.  Paul Reddick gets a co-write as well for the one slow song on this rocking set: “Once Had Wings” clearly shows Paul’s influence, giving the set list a bit of a different feel. “(You Want) What I Got To Give” is a highlight, a slide-driven blues burner. The CD Release Party for us here in Toronto is at Hugh’s Room on Friday, October 18th – you will need a reservation.

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BLUES IN BRITAIN – NOV 2013

MonkeyJunk – All Frequencies
Stony Plain SPCD 1366
by Mick Rainsford

MonkeyJunk took their name from a remark made by blues great Son House who commented “I’m talkin’ ‘bout the blues. I ain’t talkin’ about monkey junk.” Well, this band “don’t play no monkey junk – they play nothing but the blues” melding their “blues roots” with soul, swamp, Chi-Town and Texas influences.

Led by Steve Marriner (vocals/harp/keys/baritone guitar), Tony D (lead guitar) and Matt Sobb (drums/percussion), Junk take no prisoners with their “no-holds barred” vocal and instrumental attack.

Opening with the wild stomper ‘You Make A Mess’ with it’s thudding back-beat, wild wah-wah and rock-edged vocals – Junk don’t ease up on the tension until the last notes of ‘Swank’, a ‘rinky-dink’ styled instrumental replete with trash-can drums that really lives up to it’s title.

In between we are treated to the brooding grinder ‘Right From Wrong’ with it’s heavily amplified harp and machismo vocals – a deeply bluesy rendition of Bobby Charles’ ‘Why Are People like That’ that throbs with heavy harp, guitar and drums – the soul-infused Arthur Alexander styled ‘Yearnin’ For Yesterday’ with it’s wailing harp and guitar – the Ry Cooder styled ‘What I Got To Give’ replete with moaning harp and shimmering slide – and ‘Once Had Wings’ which uncannily melds the influences of both Sam Hopkins and the Byrds.

MonkeyJunk deliver the blues on ‘All Frequencies’’! (www.stonyplainrecords.com)

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Don and Sheryl’s Blues Blog – Sept 26. 2013
By Sheryl and Don Crow

Canadian blues trio MonkeyJunk–Steve Marriner on vocals, harp, keys, and baritone guitar, Tony D on lead guitar, and Matt Sobb on drums—took their name from a chance remark by Son House, who once proclaimed, “I’m talkin’ about the blues–I ain’t talkin’ about monkey junk!” They are multiple Juno Award winners north of the border, and won the Blues Award in 2010 for Best New Artist Debut.

For their third album, “All Frequencies,” on the Stony Plain label, the fellows push the envelope by experimenting with a more original sound with varying influences throughout the nine originals and one cover, always staying true to their blues roots.

Also of note is the vintage equipment on which this set was recorded, and the band’s lack of a full-time bassist. Steve uses a custom-made baritone guitar instead, and that, along with the analog equipment, gives this album a full, rich sound.

Check out the opening barrage of guitar salvos on “You Make A Mess of me,” featuring a cool wah-wah solo from Tony D sandwiched between Steve’s lyrics of a lover who has him “at your command, like open sesame.’ “Je Nah Say Kwah” butchers the French language, but is still a trippy, soul-blues tale of a mystical lover found after a shipwreck, and finds Steve blowin’ some Stevie Wonder-inspired harp herein.

The fellows take some different looks at love on this set, too. Steve realizes all too late that he was “wrong wrong wrong and she’s gone gone gone” in the blues-rock of “Yearnin For Yesterday,” while Tony D breaks out the slide in the Delta stylings of “What I Got To Give.”

We had three favorites, too. The band’s look at our own mortality, “Once Had Wings,” has overtones of Appalachian folk, while a stripped-down, swampy, echo-laden arrangement changes the scope of the original on a sweet cover of Bobby Charles’ “Why Are People Like That?” And, just imagine if Hendrix had jammed with Booker T. and the MG’s and you’ll get the gist of the set-closing instrumental, seven minutes of pure organ, guitar, and percussive bliss, “Swank.”

With each album, MonkeyJunk continue not only to improve, but to boldly send their brand of blues to new and astounding heights. They are indeed hittin’ on “All Frequencies” with this one!! Until next time . . .

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PARCBENCH – Sept 25, 2013
MonkeyJunk – All Frequencies
*** (out of 4 stars)
by Greg Victor

When it’s hard to wake up and get going, I like to find some hard bluesrock and crank it up. Needless to say, I’ll be very productive in the near future; I’ll be listening to the new MonkeyJunk album, All Frequencies. All Frequencies offers ten tracks (of which nine are originals). The one cover is a blistering version of “Why Are People Like That?” a Bobby Charles classic. Each track succeeds in presenting the essence of that song, with each one given a unique treatment, full of musical integrity.

They may be from Canada, but if that comes as surprise to my U.S. readers, then maybe you just haven’t been following the steady growth of great music coming from our northern neighbor in the past decade. Just because they have real winters doesn’t mean their music doesn’t scorch when required. There is a grittiness to Canadian blues and rock that is refreshing. The album’s title sheds a little light on the direction of this one. Rather than staying in strictly blues territory, MonkeyJunk enfolds an irresistible collection of influences into their sound. In their music you’ll hear their own version of swampy blues, Appalachian roots, Texas blues, 70s soul and that eternal standby, funk. The new album is a solid follow-up to their Juno Award-winning previous album, To Behold, which won “Blues Album of the Year.”

MonkeyJunk is an Ottawa-based trio consisting of Steve Marriner (vocals, harmonica, keyboard, baritone guitar), Tony D (lead guitar, background vocals) and Matt Sobb (drums, percussion, background vocals). In its own way, Tony D’s slide guitar work is just as much a “lead vocal” as an instrumental. He keeps things alluring without crossing over into overwhelming, mirroring the high standards of the entire album.

Essential Downloads: “You Make A Mess,” “Je Nah Say Kwah,” “What I Got To Give.”

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Examiner.com – Sept 24th, 2013
MonkeyJunk – All Frequencies
By Chris Martin

Dirty swamp boogie is MonkeyJunk’s business and after listening to All Frequencies, business is very good. Full of original tunes that infuse blues, rock, soul, and funk they have created a mighty fun record to listen to. Highlighted by the swampy “You Make A Mess” and the slow and nasty “Once Had Wings” the trio from North of the border know what they are doing. Building off of two very good albums, their latest output takes the music to a new level and may be their best.

ONLINE VERSION

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John Emms Music Reviews – Sept. 23, 2013
By John Emms

Bridging the vibe of R. L. Burnside’s Mississippi Blues with blues rock power has MonkeyJunk coming in with no static on their new album All Frequencies.

From the heat of Tony D’s stunning guitar solo on Say What (not the SRV track) to the gumbo-osity of the very catchy You Make A Mess over to the almost Big Sugar vibe of Sirens In The Night MJ’s sound is evolving. Without a doubt Steve Marriner’s lead vocals and harp/baritone guitar shine brightly over the spectrum of this album. Elsewhere drummer Matt Sobb’s groove always sticks while pushing the band.
Whether it’s propelling Jah Nah Say Kwah or reacting dynamics with Marriner and Tony D on the excellent Yearning for Yesterday Sobb is integral to MJ’s sound.

Either way there is wedge of mojo that all three players whip into each track that is totally unique.
As I write this the coolest instrumental of the last 5 years titled Swank sounds like an outtake from a 70′s Barney Miller episode.

And yep that’s cool folks!
And so is this album.

ONLINE VERSION

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Roots Music Report – Sept 21st. 2013
Rating: 5 stars

By Duane Verh

MonkeyJunk’s new offering shows off a band with a strong sense of identity, and a tough and confident identity it is. The Ottawa-based three-piece here delivers track after track of sinewy, serious blues-rock, highlighted by lead vocals and songwriting that are head and shoulders above the journeyman pack. Likely to muscle their way onto playlists are “You Make A Mess”, “Right From Wrong” and “Je Nah Say Kwah”. An added treat is the set closer, a tasty Booker T./Meters-ish instrumental, “Swank”. All Frequencies should rightly show up on a good many “Best Of” blues lists this year.

ONLINE VERSION

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ARTICLES EN FRANCAIS

Moon Turn Red, ou quand MonkeyJunk devient sérieux – 17 sept 2015
par Hugo Prévost

Le groupe ottavien MonkeyJunk, fort de ses deux précédents albums, lance prochainement son troisième opus, Moon Turn Red. Nouvel effort à la fois similaire aux deux disques déjà parus, cette troisième déclinaison musicale permet au trio de s’installer confortablement au sein de leur style, tout en gardant quelques portes ouvertes pour favoriser l’innovation.

Avec ses codes bien définis, le blues laisse peut-être moins d’espace libre aux artisans du style: parfois confinés entre le rock et le country, les bluesmen doivent se dépêtrer de ce carcan musical. Trop originaux, ils ne correspondent plus à la définition du genre. Trop traditionnels, et l’album tombe rapidement dans l’oubli. Pas parce que la musique est nécessairement mauvaise, mais parce que le mélomane aura bien de la difficulté à se rappeler du contenu, ou de ses interprètes, tant le résultat aura paru générique au possible. Et, pour le journaliste chargé de la critique, il devient relativement complexe de dire quelque chose de plus intéressant que « ce disque existe ».

C’est en toute connaissance de cause qu’apparaît Moon Turn Red: les trois gars d’Ottawa ont pris de l’assurance depuis All Frequencies, qui dénotait lui-même d’une prise de maturité comparativement au premier opus, To Behold. Les guitares sont plus assumées, la batterie est plus dynamique, et les paroles tranchent plus nettement sur l’accompagnement musical. L’album commence d’ailleurs en force avec Light It Up… et les autres pièces ne sont pas non plus dénuées de mordant. On n’a qu’à écouter les paroles de Show Me Yours (ou en lire le titre, en fait), pour comprendre que le temps de la récréation est terminé, et que MonkeyJunk désire être considéré comme un groupe mature qui a fait ses preuves.

Avoir l’imagination fertile, et à voir les autres titres comme Hot Hot Papa et Love Attack, on pourrait croire à une reprise plus modeste des chansons délicieusement délurées de Back in Black, le disque culte d’AC/DC.

Parlant de Love Attack, le mélomane sourcillera légèrement à l’écoute de ce mélange de blues, de rock et de reggae, combinaison inhabituelle s’il en est une. Rien de désagréable, mais peut-être un point un peu plus faible de l’album?

Pour les amateurs de MonkeyJunk, et pour les amateurs de blues en général, Moon Turn Red est un album réussi, qui mérite amplement sa place dans toute discothèque qui se respecte. Reste à voir si le groupe saura continuer à se renouveler en vue d’un éventuel quatrième opus…

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WEBZINE Le Net Blues – OCT 2013
par Pierre Lamontagne

Cet automne, le groupe canadien MonkeyJunk lance son très attendu troisième album intitulé ALL FREQUENCIES. Le trio de la région d’Ottawa est composé du guitariste-chanteur-claviériste-harmoniciste Steve Marriner, du guitariste Tony D et du batteur Matt Sobb.  Fait intéressant, Steve Marriner fait aussi office de bassiste en jouant sur une guitare «barytone» (guitare accordée plus bas que l’accordage classique: elle se situe entre la guitare et la basse). Cela contribue à donner une couleur très rock à ces étoiles montantes du blues-rock canadien, récipiendaires de nombreux prix (Junos, Maple blues awards, etc.).

On pourrait qualifier le style de MonkeyJunk de blues-rock électrique où la guitare est prédominante avec des touches de funk et de musique des bayous. La batterie très présente de Matt Sobb accentue le côté rock de l’album. Sur la plupart des dix pièces de ce disque, on retrouve cet intéressant mélange de guitare, orgue et harmonica. Au niveau vocal, la voix de Steve Marriner s’avère toujours aussi dynamique et efficace, étant bien secondée par les chœurs des autres musiciens. La pochette d’ALL FREQUENCIES d’allure rétro montre une ancienne antenne radio émettant des éclairs sur un fond beige, tandis qu’à l’intérieur, on retrouve des photos de vieux appareils radios ainsi qu’une photo du band.

Ouvrons maintenant nos oreilles à toutes les fréquences de cet album. D’entrée de jeu, la pièce YOU MAKE A MESS donne le ton à l’album avec un son très rock. Il s’agit certainement de la plus commerciale de l’album avec un rythme entraînant et une mélodie accrocheuse. Le pari semble gagné car on entend cette pièce sur les ondes de plusieurs stations de radios.  La pièce suivante intitulée RIGHT FROM WRONG  nous montre un côté plus country-rock du groupe avec un son rappelant un peu ZZ Top. Sur WHY ARE PEOPLE LIKE THAT (de Bobby Charles) la seule reprise de l’album, on découvre un bon blues rock pesant avec un solo de guitare inspiré: certainement mon coup de cœur de l’album ! Pour ONCE HAD WINGS, le band nous amène ailleurs avec une balade rock aux accents country qui se démarque par son excellent solo d’harmonica (avec des effets d’écho) qui sera suivi plus tard d’un solo de guitare envoutant. On conclut l’album avec SWANK une pièce instrumentale de plus de sept minutes sur laquelle les envolées sur l’orgue B3 entrecoupées de lignes mélodiques à la guitare de Tony D nous transportent dans les années soixante! Ça clos très bien l’album.

ALL FREQUENCIES saura certainement combler les fans du groupe qui retrouveront le son typique de MonkeyJunk tout en allant chercher de nouveaux adeptes attirés par un son plus rock que les albums précédents.

Réalisé avec soin par Steve Marriner et Ken Friesen (Blue Rodeo, The Tragically Hip), ce troisième disque du groupe  comprend plusieurs pièces entrainantes toutes désignées pour obtenir du succès lors des concerts du groupe.  Ne l’oublions pas, MonkeyJunk est aussi reconnu pour la qualité et le dynamisme de ses spectacles: gageons qu’on les retrouvera sur les scènes de nombreux festivals de blues l’été prochain!  Ce disque de MonkeyJunk couvre littéralement toutes les fréquences ou «ALL FREQUENCIES »: à vous de l’écouter

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PIEUVRE.CA – OCT 14, 2013
par Hugo Prévost
@HugoPrevost

Il y a définitivement quelque chose d’étrange à se dire que Matt Sobb, Steve Marriner et Tony D forment un groupe de musique originaire d’Ottawa. Peut-être cela a-t-il à voir avec la triste réputation de la ville en ce qui concerne les activités plus endiablées? Qu’à cela ne tienne, MonkeyJunk fait mentir tous les clichés du genre avec une musique puissante et particulièrement entraînante.

Les influences sont certes conventionnelles, voire classiques pour un groupe de musique du genre, mais le résultat n’en est pas moins complètement accrocheur. Il ne suffira que des premières mesures de la première pièce de l’album, You Make A Mess, pour se convaincre que MonkeyJunk n’a rien perdu de sa superbe et de son énergie qui lui avait permis de présenter un sacré show en novembre 2011, à l’Astral.

De fait, on a l’impression que soit les trois gars du groupe se retenaient un peu en 2011, soit ceux-ci ont carrément décidé d’y aller pédale au plancher en 2013; All Frequencies offre des chansons plus agressives, plus mordantes, plus accrocheuses… bref, un disque où le mélomane n’a guère de répit, et n’en sera d’ailleurs que plus reconnaissant.

Toujours comme en 2011, les textes sont un peu plus « propres » que ceux d’autres artistes du même genre – les Black Keys, par exemple -, mais, cette fois, ce « fossé » lyrique est quelque peu plus comblé avec des accords plus « sales », une musique plus grasse… On a l’impression que MonkeyJunk expose davantage ses « tripes » musicales qu’auparavant.

Avec ce nouvel opus, MonkeyJunk confirme son importance sur la scène rock et blues du pays: les trois gars en veulent et en redemandent, et leur musique témoigne de leur passion pour le genre. Nul n’oserait ainsi remettre en question leur implication dans le domaine, et leur désir de plaire à leurs fans en offrant ce qui n’est rien d’autre que de l’excellente musique.

Ne reste plus qu’à espérer que le trio sera prochainement de retour à Montréal pour un nouveau concert…

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SORS-TU.ca – OCT 2013
MonkeyJunk – All Frequencies – Critique

Par Jean-François Tremblay Collaborateur (Ontario)

Maintenant on les connaît. Après quatre ans et deux précédents albums sur lesquels ils nous ont fait taper du pied allègrement, on sait à quoi s’attendre du blues musclé et « swampy » de MonkeyJunk. Et sur All Frequencies, sa plus récente offrande, le trio ottavien ne déçoit pas et en rajoute ; tout est plus concentré, précisé, fignolé et même, dirait-on, plus relax.

Tout de suite ça démarre sur les chapeaux de roues avec You Make a Mess. La batterie martelée vigoureusement par Matt Sobb, suivie de l’orgue de Steve Marriner et finalement de la guitare de Tony D ne nous laissent pas souffler. Et dès qu’on entend la voix de Marriner, on a l’impression de retrouver de vieux amis. Ce ton de voix chaleureux, sorti d’un autre temps, qui semble avoir baigné dans le blues depuis toujours. De la trempe d’un Andrew Strong, d’un Dan Auerbach, avec des inflexions à la Taj Mahal, Marriner nous fait partager sans effort ses émotions.

Son jeu à l’harmonica est également empreint d’une grande sensibilité, comme le témoigne la pièce Right From Wrong (où ses échanges avec la guitare de Tony D. sont jouissifs). Notons aussi la funky Je Nah Say Kwah, sur laquelle figure un superbe solo de Marriner. Le titre rigolo est à l’image de la chanson, une pièce dansante qui contient tous les éléments d’un potentiel succès radiophonique.

Tony D. en met plein la vue

Ceci dit, s’il y a une vedette dans le groupe, c’est Tony D. Autant sur disque que sur scène, le guitariste épate. Son jeu complémente à la perfection la voix de Marriner et le travail de Matt Sobb. Sur Sirens in the night, son instrument appuie la mélodie chantée, et les différentes couches de guitare électrique donnent du corps à la pièce qui déjà, grâce à la batterie, est très dynamique.

S’il y a quelques rares moments moins excitants sur le disque – la fade Yearnin’ For Yesterday, par exemple – d’autres sont très inspirés, telle que la reprise de Why are people like that?, popularisée par Muddy Waters en 1975, où le groupe semble prendre son pied.

La réalisation de Steve Marriner et de Ken Friesen permet au côté sale et marécageux du groupe de cohabiter sans problème avec une sonorité plus moderne et « commerciale ». Les deux aspects se mélangent bien. Le groupe semble plus à l’aise que sur les disques précédents, résultat probable des longs mois passés sur la route et sur scène. Il semble mieux se connaître, il respire la confiance, et le son est davantage raffiné, tout en gardant le côté souillon qui est nécessaire pour ce genre de musique.

Fidèle à son habitude, MonkeyJunk clôt son album par une instrumentale, l’excellente Swank, sur laquelle on retrouve principalement l’orgue de Marriner. La pièce semble tout droit sortie de la tête (et des doigts) de Booker T. Jones et dure plus de 7 minutes. Mais jamais on ne s’ennuie. Lorsque la guitare fait son apparition en cours de route, et que le rythme devient plus lascif, on sait qu’on a droit à quelque chose de spécial, et l’ensemble est jubilatoire.

All Frequencies est l’œuvre d’une formation qui a atteint le stade où elle sait parfaitement bien qui elle est et ce qu’elle veut. Et malgré la nature plaintive de son style musical, MonkeyJunk semble offrir ces chansons avec un plaisir contagieux.

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Journal de Québec en édition électronique – Weekend – 28 sept. 2013 – Page #20

Originaire d’Ottawa, ce trio qui fait dans le blues, tout ce qu’il y a de plus urbain, conrtemporain, rock, avec des references drolement bien digerees, particulierement de la British blues invasion (Peter Green/2ieme solo de Right From Wrong + harmonica John Mayall, Mountain/solo de wah-wah You Make A Mess) remporte l’adhesion des fans et des associations tells le Maple Blues Award ou L’International Blues Challenge de Memphis. Dix chansons construites selon toutes les regles de l’art, concues et jouees pour le plus grand plaisir des vraies amateurs qui aiment la diversite des styles (Chicago, LA , Texas), des riffs et signatures (Mountain, Bluesbreakers, Allman, Clapton, Buchanan, Butterfield, Muselwhite), toutes en saluant leurs pairs et predesesseurs Colin James et Jeff Healey. Difficile de faire mieux. 4.5 etoiles (sur 5)

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LeDroitSurMonOrdi.ca – Le Droit – 28 septembre 2013 – Page #62

MonkeyJunk – All Frequencies 3 etoiles (sur 4)
Par Yves Bergeras

Nouvelle coqueluche de la scene blues, MonkeyJunk, aureole d`un Juno et de 15 trophees Maple Blues, demarre All Frequencies avec un retentissant You Make A Mess, dont l’energie old school contaniment tout l`album. Attention: on nest pas dans la frenesie, mais dans la fievre. Plus sourde, plus chaleureuse, plus soul. Elle suinte des pores de Steve Marriner, Tony D, Matt Sobb. Le trio ottavien s`est entoure de Ken Friesen (Blue Rodeo, Tragically Hip), venue co-arranger son troisieme opus. Ambience classique entre pousiere et whisky fume. Petit detour par les bayous, pour enliser ses guitares dans la classique Why Are People Like That? repiquee au Cajun Bobby Charles. Exercise reussi. On plane dans les hauteurs avec Once Had Wings. On s’offre un parenthese funk – limite disco – le temps de l ‘amusante (et frenchie) Je Nah Say Kwah. Et on finit sur un instrumentale ne laissant aucune doute sur la maitrise des instruments et la connivance des musiciens.

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Le retour endiablé de MonkeyJunk

Deux ans après leur précédent album, To Behold, voilà, que le trio d’Ottawa MonkeyJunk lance un nouvel opus. Intitulé All Frequencies, ce nouvel opus paru récemment compte une dizaine de pièces, tout comme le précédent. Et là où MonkeyJunk semblait déjà se donner à fond dans le blues, le boogie, voire encore la soul, All Frequencies se rapproche davantage du rock, sans toutefois trop s’éloigner de ses racines.