The Canadian trio MonkeyJunk has a new release, To Behold (Stony Plain). Steve Marriner (vocals, harmonica, keyboards, guitar), Tony D (lead guitar), Matt Sobb (drums) all hail from Ottawa. They took their name from a comment by Son House made talking about the blues and monkey junk. In relation to not having a bassist, they note the examples of Hound Dog Taylor as well as Little Walter. They had an acclaimed independently produced CD and were third place finishers at the 2009 International Blues Challenge. On their web site their describe there music as “Swamp R&B. Soul boogie. Deep blues. Oh, yes, and bedroom funk. Dark sometimes, rockin’ at others. You can dance. Does that tell the story?”
The opening Mother’s Crying starts off with a driving North Mississippi Hills groove, and the following cover of Hank Williams’ You’re Gonna Change (Or i’m Gonna Leave) has a slightly heavy backbeat with Marriner adding harp on a performance that is a bit more country flavored. While the opening of Right Now might suggest they might be viewed as grunge, garage blues, the starker and atmospheric Let Her Down, a terrific slow blues performance on which Marriner sits down at the organ, displays they are much more versatile. It is followed a nice laid back soulful flavor of With These Hands, while the late night blue ballad While You Are Mine, has some low key harp and organ in the backing.
This disc closes with The Marrinator, a feature for Warriner’s driving harp. The tightness shown by MonkeyJunk comes from playing together for years. They are strong players. Warriner’s vocals are first-rate and they have solid material. To Behold is an impressive release that is should hopefully lead to their expanding a growing fan base. Their website is http://monkeyjunkband.com.
I received this from a publicist for the release.