Moon Turn Red, the latest CD from multi-award winning Ottawa-based trio, MonkeyJunk who are comprised of Steve Marriner (vocals, harmonica, keyboards, baritone guitar), Tony D (lead guitar, background vocals) and Matt Sobb (drums, percussion, background vocals), MonkeyJunk plays an energized mix of swamp blues and funky roots rock ‘n’ roll. Moon Turn Red was produced by the band and Ken Friesen, with additional production on one track by Colin Cripps of Blue Rodeo.
On their fourth CD for Stony Plain, MonkeyJunk displays their passionate and edgy roots-based music with an unfettered delivery, and Moon Turn Red is certain to further cement the band’s popularity around the globe. “With each record we make, we feel like we’re pushing more boundaries,” says the group’s Steve Marriner. “Moon Turn Red is no different in that regard. I really think some of the songs on this album are some of the best we’ve written. We explored grooves we’ve never hit on before and experimented with some new sounds, while paying particular attention to the melodic passages of the songs,” he adds.
MonkeyJunk truly shines on the new album, with ten scorching tracks varying from straight-up rockers like “Light it Up,” “You,” “Hot Hot Papa,” “Live Another Day,” “Lucky One” and “Travelin’ Light;” the reggae-tinged “Love Attack;” the funky “Show Me Yours;” and soulful, goose bump-inducing love songs, “Learn How to Love” and “Meet Me at Midnight.”
Moon Turn Red also features a guest appearance from legendary Canadian guitarist 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 someone we have been a fan of for many years – one of our musical heroes,” says Matt Sobb. “We listened to his music growing up, have covered his songs in previous bands and still listen to his albums in our van while on tour. He was very generous with his time and talents and it was truly an honor that he was so gracious and genuinely invested in making the track sound great with us. And it was great to have Colin Cripps onboard to produce that song too – his musical sensibility and keen ears really harnessed the best out of all of us!”
Another coup for the band was having Gordie Johnson (of Big Sugar and Grady fame) lend his talents to the recording. As Marriner states, “He possesses an acute sensibility for melody and groove, a champion of ‘riff-rock’, while his role on our album is more supportive than feature, he brought all sorts of vibe to the session that I believe we effectively captured on tape that day.” Tony D adds, “Gordie and I both come out of the blues. We’ve known each other for over 25 years. It was serendipitous that he happened to be touring in the vicinity of the studio in Almonte, Ontario, and after all these years we finally got a chance to work together!”
Moon Turn Red is not only an outstanding addition to an already impressive body of work and a turning point for MonkeyJunk, it is an example of musical camaraderie and brotherhood; the trio of long-time friends and colleagues just seem to click in a way that is at once natural and otherworldly. Their passion, conviction and dedication to their music are evident with every lick, every beat and every lyric.
MonkeyJunk is a reminder to listeners that musicianship, ability and strong song writing will always triumph.
The 2008 birth of the Ottawa-based band MonkeyJunk came along just when music fans needed them the most. They brought an accessible and refreshing blend of swamp-rock roots and blues to the table and haven’t looked back. In the relatively short time they’ve been performing and recording together, the members of MonkeyJunk have won a collective 20 Maple Blues Awards, two Canadian Independent Music Awards, a Blues Music Award (USA), and have been nominated twice for a JUNO Award (The Canadian Grammy), taking home the coveted hardware in 2012.