By Ken Wallis, Blues & Roots Radio
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For sure, we’re howlin’ the blues as we continue to highlight the Juno Awards and the five nominees for blues album of the year.
MonkeyJunk – Time To Roll
MonkeyJunk is a rockin’ band that features music that transcends the blues boundaries. Their albums consist of tunes that are a combination of swampy blues and rock n roll. The band hails from Ottawa and first got together 10 years ago and have been performing at a breakneck pace ever since. In fact, this April they’ll begin their 10th Anniversary tour.
The band consists of vocalist Steve Marriner, who plays baritone guitar, harmonica and keyboards. He’s frequently a stage guest with other artists and here he is performing with Steve Strongman at Junofest in Hamilton, Ontario
Lead guitarist Tony D shreds a mean guitar and drummer Matt Sobb proves the beat is supreme. In ten years they’ve amassed over 20 Maple Blues Awards and a Juno. Their band name comes from a quote from Son House who said he was talking about the blues, but “no monkeyjunk”.
MonkeyJunk’s first release came in 2009 and was entitled Tiger In Your Tank which garnered them attention from blues fans.
Two years later, the band released To Behold.
And this album really launched their career as it took home the Juno award for best blues album. The cd grabs you from the start with the opening song Mother’s Crying.
They followed this up with All Frequencies in 2013 featuring 10 tunes that showed the band was evolving into a sophisticated sound.
Next up came, Moon Turn Red in 2015, Love Attack, Lucky One, Show Me Yours and Hot, Hot Papa featuring David Wilcox.
And then came Time To Roll, MonkeyJunk’s fifth release and it’s a dandy. No wonder it’s nominated for best blues album of the year.
The release starts off with Best Kept Secret and the album sure didn’t stay a secret. Marriner’s harmonica playing soars throughout the album.
Here’s the official video:
The band added a bass for the first time, which is really in evidence in the instrumental Fuzzy Poodle. The cd had support from Tom Wilson of Blackie and Rodeo Kings, Paul Reddick and and Matthew Chaffey of The Split.
And you can sample some of the tunes at https://soundcloud.com/stony-plain-records/sets/monkeyjunk-time-to-roll-sampler.
The Junos will be announced the weekend of March 24 and 25th.
So who will win the Juno next year? Here are some dynamite contenders – cds that are brand new.
Angel Forrest - ELECTRIC LOVE
Dan Doiron - LIVIN CENTRE STAGE
Mike Goudreau - ALTERNATE TAKES
Manitoba Hal Brolund - MANITOBA
Sue Foley - ICE QUEEN
Suzie Vinnick - SHAKE THE LOVE AROUND
You’ll hear the music and interviews with all these artists in the upcoming weeks on Blues Blast, Tuesdays at 4 on 101.5 The Hawk Fm, and Thursdays at 8 on Blues and Roots Radio. Till next week, keep the blues alive and kicking!