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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Showing posts with label Monkey Junk. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Monkey Junk. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Canada's National Blues Awards Land in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa and Hamilton

Canada's National Blues Awards Land in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa and HamiltonMaple Blues Award Nominations Led by MonkeyJunk, Downchild and Steve Hill

(October 30, 2014) Toronto, ON - The Toronto Blues Society will be celebrating the 18th annual Maple Blues Awards by honouring nationally and internationally recognized Canadian blues artists from across the country on January 19th, 2015.  Toronto artists lead with twenty seven nominations, followed by Montreal (15), Vancouver (9), Ottawa (8) and Hamilton (7).

Ottawa’s MonkeyJunk and Toronto’s Downchild each received five nominations followed by Montreal’s Steve Hill with four. There are plenty of other acts each with multiple nominations including Fathead, Raoul & the Big Time, The 24th Street Wailers, Brandon Isaak, Steve Strongman and Harrison Kennedy. Quebec blues artists are well represented with nominations for Jordan Officer, Angel Forrest, Dawn Tyler Watson, and Guy Bélanger to name a few. British Columbia’s thriving blues scene is represented with nominations for Dave “Hurricane” Hoerl,  David Vest,  Keith Picot and Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne. The nominees, selected by a panel consisting of industry professionals from across Canada, are recognized both for their talent as well as their contribution to the growing Canadian blues music scene.  

Voting is open from 11:59pm Newfoundland Daylight Time on November 5, 2014, through 11:59pm Pacific Standard Time on December 5, 2014. Blues fans can cast their votes online at www.mapleblues.caCanadian blues fans can cast their votes in all categories except instrumental.

Tickets for the Maple Blues Awards, held at the Royal Conservatory's Koerner Hall in Toronto, are on sale now for $28 - $65 and can be purchased at The Weston Family Box Office, located in The Royal Conservatory building at 273 Bloor Street West, Toronto, by phone at RCM box office (416) 408-0208 or online at Contact The Toronto Blues Society for member discounts.

Heading in to its 30th anniversary year, The Toronto Blues Society is a non-profit membership organization dedicated to the promotion and preservation of the Blues. The Maple Blues Awards is Canada's national blues awards program. Its goal is to promote blues music across Canada, and to recognize outstanding achievement in the field.

Located along the Bloor Street cultural corridor, The Royal Conservatory of Music is one of the largest and most respected music performance and arts education institutions in the world. Its breathtaking Koerner Hall, "the jewel in the crown of Toronto's Cultural Renaissance," along with two other concert spaces, presents 70+ concerts annually from acclaimed classical, jazz, pop, and world music and hosts an additional 100+ concerts and events from a wide range of not for profit arts groups, charities, and corporate clients.

The 18th Annual Maple Blues Awards Nominees:

Entertainer of the Year
The 24th Street Wailers
Raoul & the Big Time
Steve Hill
Steve Strongman

Electric Act of the Year
Jack de Keyzer
Steve Hill
Steve Strongman

Acoustic Act of the Year
Adam Karch
Big Dave McLean
Brandon Isaak
Harrison Kennedy
Michael Jerome Browne

Male Vocalist of the Year
Chuck Jackson
Harrison Kennedy
Jon Knight
Matt Andersen
Steve Marriner

Female Vocalist of the Year
Angel Forrest
Dawn Tyler Watson
Diana Braithwaite
Shakura S’Aida
Suzie Vinnick 

New Artist or Group of the Year
Irene Torres & the Sugar Devils
Joel Johnson Band
Jordan Officer
Sean Pinchin
Wicked Grin

B.B. King International Artist of the Year
Beth Hart
Elvin Bishop
Janiva Magness
Johnny Winter
Mavis Staples

Guitarist of the Year
Paul DesLauriers
Steve Dawson
Steve Hill
Steve Strongman

Piano or Keyboard Player of the Year
David McMorrow (Jack de Keyzer)
David Vest
Julian Fauth
Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne
Lance Anderson

Harmonica Player of the Year
Dave “Hurricane” Hoerl
Guy Bélanger
Harpdog Brown
Jerome Godboo
Steve Marriner

Horn Player of the Year
Al Lerman
Chris Whiteley
Jon Wong
Pat Carey
Richard Thornton

Drummer of the Year
Bucky Berger (Fathead)
Lindsay Beaver (The 24th Street Wailers)
Matt Sobb (MonkeyJunk)
Sam Harrisson (Paul DesLauriers Band)
Tom Bona (Raoul and the Big Time, Soulstack)

Bassist of the Year
Alan Duffy (Jack de Keyzer)
Alec Fraser (Fraser/Daley)
Greg Morency (Paul DesLauriers Band)
Keith Picot (Brandon Isaak)
Omar Tunnoch (Fathead)

Songwriter of the Year
Angel Forrest
Brandon Isaak
Harrison Kennedy
Raoul Bhaneja
Ray Bonneville

Recording/Producer of the Year
Brandon Isaak - Here On Earth (Self) Producer: Chris Isaak
Downchild - Can You Hear the Music (Linus Entertainment) Producer: Don Walsh
JW-Jones - Belmont Boulevard (Blind Pig Records) Producer: Tom Hambridge
Raoul and the Big Time - Hollywood Blvd (Big Time Records) Producer: Raoul Bhaneja
Steve Hill Solo Recordings Vol. 2 (No Label Records) Producer: Steve Hill

Blues With A Feeling (Lifetime Achievement Award)
Diana Braithwaite
Alec Fraser
Danny Brooks
Ellen McIlwaine
Joe Murphy
Ken Whiteley
Michael Fonfara
Stephen Barry
Tom Lavin
Michael Jerome Browne
Brent Parkin
Nannette Workman
Theresa Malenfant

Monday, August 4, 2014

Stony Plain artist: Monkey Junk - Tiger In Your Tank - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Tiger In Your Tank, from Monkey Junk and it's terrific! This is a reissue of an earlier issued release with two added tracks, but I missed it first time around and am glad to have the opportunity to review it this time around! Opening with I Wanna Put A Tiger In Your Tank, a Willie Dixon penned track, MJ lays down a rockin' blues track with cool droning guitar riffs. Lead vocalist Steve Marriner has a solid voice for this music and echoes himself on harp. Matt Sobb keeps the bottom tight on drums. Small Time Evil has an easy southern rock feel Marriner trades harp leads with Tony D on slide guitar. Cool. On Magic Sam's Give Me Time, Marriner leads the band on a pure R&B style track with perfectly balanced vocals and organ. On Otis Rush's, If You Were Mine, a retro blues/rock feel permeates the room and Marriner beefs up the track with cool harp riffs. Tony D really kicks up the game with some rolling rock riffs making this a particularly bluesy track. When Push Comes To Shove smells like James Brown is leading the rhythm section and Marriner knows how to work it. Taking a few real nice key solos on this track, Marriner sets the pace for Tony D to come in with a few hot riffs of his own. Beefy is a particularly cool instrumental track with a funky bottom and great slide work from Tony D. Marriner gets on the harp and takes it for a nice ride prior to turning it back over to Tony. Very cool! One of the most conventional blues tracks on the release, Pay The Cost, takes it nice and easy with perfectly structured guitar lead under Marriner's super vocals. This track shows the roots of MJ's music, broken down into it's basic components with super harp work from Marriner and contained work from Tony and Sobb. Classic boogie track, Boogie Man, is one of the coolest tracks on the release with with a stiff strut. With drone guitar work from Marriner and slide work from Tony D, this is my favorite track on the release. Leave The Rest To You gets into a bright, contemporary funk feel with a taste of Little Feat gumbo flavor. Again, it's Tony D's slide work that really hits me on this track. It's clean, concise and interesting. Blues For Anna has a real strong delta blues flavor with a modern twist. I really like this track with it's traditional style blues guitar riffs and unadorned vocals by Tony D. Again, Tony D is out there with his slide stirring things up and it is hard to imagine anyone who likes slide guitar not liking this release. Marriner slams the track with a hot harp riff as well nicely complimenting his authentic vocals. Gutsy has a rolling R&B/jazz feel, not unlike some of James Browns stuff with lead organ. This is really a cool track with nice guitar punctuation just laying back and riding the organ. Tony D breaks clean with a real tasty guitar solo and Marriner takes the backseat on organ as he does. Excellent track! Lucky One is a bit more of a rocker and Tony D really lights up the guitar briefly over what is mostly a vocal radio style track. Wrapping the release is Pueblo with cool drum rhythms but with a feel of traditional spaghetti western blues music. A real opportunity for Marriner to play an extended harp solo, this is a great conclusion to a super release.

  If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, Like ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorites band! ”LIKE”


Monday, July 14, 2014

Stony Plain Records Set to Reissue MonkeyJunk's First Album, "Tiger in Your Tank," with Two Bonus Tracks, On July 29

Stony Plain Records Set to Reissue MonkeyJunk’s First Album, Tiger in Your Tank, with Two Bonus Tracks, On July 29

2009 Album Originally Won Blues Music Award as “Best Artist Debut”

EDMONTON, AB – Stony Plain Records announces a July 29 release date for Tiger in Your Tank, a reissue with two bonus tracks of the first album from multi-award winning Ottawa-based group, MonkeyJunk. Originally released in 2009 on the band’s own Beefy label imprint, Tiger in Your Tank went on to capture the blues world’s imagination, kick-starting the band’s international career and winning both the Blues Music Award as “Best Artist Debut” and the Canadian Indie Award for “Blues Album of the Year.”

The reissue version of Tiger in Your Tank has been remastered and includes two new tracks especially recorded for it: “Lucky One” and “Pueblo,” both written by MonkeyJunk band members Steve Marriner, Tony D and Matt Sobb. MonkeyJunk is Canada’s most-acclaimed blues/roots music band and the trio tours regularly throughout Canada and at major festivals in North America and Europe. 

Tiger in Your Tank follows last year’s critically-acclaimed CD, All Frequencies, and their 2011 label debut, To Behold, both of which garnered rave reviews and extensive radio airplay around the world. Comprised of Steve Marriner (vocals, harmonica, keyboards, baritone guitar), Tony D (lead guitar, background vocals) and Matt Sobb (drums, percussion, background vocals), MonkeyJunk plays a mix of swamp blues and funky roots rock ‘n’ roll. For the uninitiated, the band takes its name from a chance remark by legendary bluesman Son House: “I’m talkin’ ‘bout the blues. I ain’t talkin’ about monkey junk.”

Tiger in Your Tank features nine original songs composed by the band, as well as distinctively-impressive covers of songs from Willie Dixon (“I Wanna Put a Tiger in Your Tank”), Magic Sam (“Give Me Time”), Otis Rush (“If You Were Mine”) and Leon Russell/Chris Blackwell (“Boogie Man”).

In January of this year, MonkeyJunk won honors in five categories at Canada’s Maple Blues Awards, including Recording of the Year, Electric Act of the Year, Entertainers of the Year and Songwriters of the Year. In addition, the group’s Steve Marriner won the Harmonica Player of the Year award. 

Tiger in Your Tank Tracklist and Songwriting Credits

1)I Wanna Put A Tiger In Your Tank (Willie Dixon)
2)Small Time Evil (Diteodoro/Marriner/Sobb)
3)Give Me Time (Sam Maghett)
4)If You Were Mine (Otis Rush)
5)When Push Comes To Shove (Steve Marriner)
6)Beefy (Diteodoro/Marriner/Sobb)
7) Pay The Cost (Diteodoro/Marriner/Sobb)
8) Boogie Man (C. Blackwell/L. Russell)
9) Leave The Rest To You (Diteodoro/Marriner/Sobb)
10)Blues For Anna (Tony Diteodoro)
11) Gutsy (Diteodoro/Marriner/Sobb)
12) Lucky One (Diteodoro/Marriner/Sobb) – bonus track
13) Pueblo (Diteodoro/Marriner/Sobb) – bonus track

For more information, visit and

Thursday, August 1, 2013

MonkeyJunk Is Hitting On "All Frequencies" with New Stony Plain Records CD, Coming September 24

MonkeyJunk Is Hitting On All Frequencies with New
Stony Plain Records CD, Coming September 24

Follow-Up to Band’s Juno Award-Winning Label Debut Pushes the Boundaries of Its Blues/Roots Music

EDMONTON, AB – Stony Plain Records announces a September 24 release date for All Frequencies, the new CD from Ottawa-based blues/roots rockers MonkeyJunk. Comprised of Steve Marriner (vocals, harmonica, keyboards, baritone guitar), Tony D (lead guitar, background vocals) and Matt Sobb (drums, percussion, background vocals), MonkeyJunk plays a mix of swamp blues and funky roots rock ‘n’ roll. Produced by Steve Marriner and Ken Friesen (Blue Rodeo, The Tragically Hip), the new album includes nine original songs, plus a scorching version of the Bobby Charles classic, “Why Are People Like That?” For the uninitiated, the band takes its name from a chance remark by legendary bluesman Son House: “I’m talkin’ ‘bout the blues. I ain’t talkin’ about monkey junk.”

“Sonically speaking, there are some new and exciting flavors on this album,” says Steve Marriner about the sessions that produced All Frequencies. “This is an analog recording using a Neve console, cut to two-inch tape and mastered to half-inch tape. These tools helped achieve certain sonic qualities that until now were untapped for us. As well, since the last recording, I've had a custom baritone guitar made which allows me to produce much more bottom end. With the absence of a bassist in our group, representing those low frequencies is always a challenge, but on All Frequencies the bottom end is indeed robust. We did a lot of experimenting with guitar sounds this time, too. On several tracks, I'm running my guitar through a Leslie cabinet to achieve that classic choral effect Buddy Guy and the Vaughan Brothers have all employed over the years.  Tony kicks on a wah-wah pedal more than in past recordings and plays more slide guitar than ever.  Also, I believe we captured the finest drum sounds of any of our records. We had access to many beautifully-sounding vintage microphones, which helped make the drum sounds tighter, yet fuller and have more overall impact.”

All Frequencies is the follow-up to the band’s 2011 label debut, To Behold, which won the 2012 Juno Award (Canada’s Grammy) as “Blues Album of the Year.” Over the last five years, MonkeyJunk has also garnered 15 Maple Blues Awards, including “Electric Act of the Year” four years running.

“The most immediate and noticeable difference about All Frequencies compared to our previous CDs is the originality of the content,” states Marriner. “Whereas the previous albums had a distinctly more traditional blues influence, All Frequencies allows all sorts of influences through the door.  It's really a mixed bag of songs and sounds: greasy rock 'n 'roll, swampy blues, uptown funk and soul, and even a little taste of Appalachia.  Of the ten songs, we wrote nine and covered a Bobby Charles tune. As with previous songs we've covered, we tried to make it more of an 'interpretation' than a faithful cover. We really tried to put our own stamp on it.”

With the release of All Frequencies, MonkeyJunk raises the bar even further than its last multi-award winning album, with an exciting and genre-pushing sound firmly planted in its blues/roots foundation, but driven to new heights with a creative display of energizing musicianship that should bring it even more accolades come next awards time.

“While there are some outstanding solos on this album (particularly by Tony D), the majority of the solos are tight and melodic,” declares Marriner. “The focus was more on the lyrical content and the choruses. We tried to write relevant songs that people can relate to and sing along with, supported by grooves that will make them move. All Frequencies is noticeably more up-tempo than To Behold. Where To Behold included three ballads, All Frequencies has one, and even then, it's a real burner.”   

The three members of MonkeyJunk all started out as players on the Ottawa blues scene, playing solo gigs as well as with a dozen different bands between them before meeting up over beers and deciding to form a band together. Six months after they started, MonkeyJunk was nominated for a Maple Blues Award for “Best New Artist” — without having even released an album yet.

In February 2009, they represented Ottawa at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis and with all the tough competition wound up placing third overall. That fueled the release of their own indie CD, Tiger in Your Tank, which came out in April 2009 and generated tons of great press, airplay on CBC Radio in Canada and syndicated airplay world-wide on “The House of Blues Radio Hour,” which featured one of its tracks, “Small Time Evil,” a coveted “Blues Breaker” slot.

MonkeyJunk began to tour in earnest with the first CD’s release, playing a dozen major festivals all over Canada, plus some dates in the U.S. and the Blues sur Seine festival in France. All that hard work paid off with their Juno Award and subsequent multiple Maple Blues Awards, plus international recognition by winning the 2010 Blues Music Award for “Best New Artist Debut” from the Blues Foundation, becoming only the second Canadian to win a Blues Music Award, along with the late, great Jeff Healey.

“Since our inception as band, MonkeyJunk has always tried to do things a little differently,” offers Marriner. “We've always had a wide range of influences in our repertoire.  At some point in the last couple years, we stopped worrying whether it was ‘bluesy enough’ or not.  We've realized that people who know our music, have seen us play and are fans of our band are likely going to dig what we're doing.  There is a noticeable progression between our first and second albums and I think All Frequencies represents that same sort of evolution.  We're growing and we're exploring. Every era of blues music has influential artists who changed the soundscape of the music and throughout their careers, explored different musical possibilities.”

MonkeyJunk will tour extensively in support of All Frequencies. For more information, visit and

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Internationally Renowned Canadian Blues Artists Honoured with Maple Blues Awards

Ottawa’s MonkeyJunk, Toronto’s Suzie Vinnick and Hamilton’s Steve Strongman Win Multiple Awards
(January 21, 2013) Toronto, ON - Internationally renowned Canadian Blues Artist from Coast-to-Coast were honoured by their peers at the 16th Annual Maple Blues Awards gala in Toronto last night as a sold out crowd of blues lovers gathered to celebrate Canadian blues at Koerner Hall.
Ottawa’s MonkeyJunk and its members took home three awards, including, Electric Act of the Year, Harmonic Player of the Year (Steve Marriner) and Drummer of the Year (Matt Sobb).  Hamilton guitar slinger Steve Strongman also received three awards including Songwriter of the Year, Recording of the Year for his recent release "A Natural Fact" and Guitar Player of the Year. Now based in Toronto, Saskatoon native Suzie Vinnick won awards for Acoustic Act of the Year and Female Vocalist of the Year.  
Nova Scotia’s Matt Minglewood was honoured with the Blues With a Feeling (Lifetime Achievement Award). Minglewood’s extensive career as a blues performer, spanning nearly four decades, makes him widely considered to be a Canadian music icon. John Valenteyn, a founding member and tireless volunteer of the Toronto Blues Society received the Blues Booster of the Year award, a very special Maple Blues Award honouring outstanding contribution to the Canadian blues music industry, presented by internationally recognized blues artist and Maple Blues Award winner Shakura S’aida and former Toronto Blues society vice president, “Blues Doctor” Julie Hill. Mrs. Laureen Harper wife of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, alongside blues guitarist Jack de Keyzer, presented the awards for Harmonica Player of the Year to Steve Marriner and Horn Player of the Year to Jon Wong.
Hosted by Raoul Bhaneja, a Toronto actor and musician most noted for his work performing Shakespeare’s Hamlet solo and his blues band Raoul and the Big Time, the Maple Blues Awards included outstanding performances from Maple Blues Award nominees past and present, including Matt Minglewood, Nanette Workman, Carlos del Junco, Harrison Kennedy, Suzie Vinnick, Steve Strongman and The Harpoonist & The Axe Murderer, all backed by gala house band, The Maple Blues Band.
Winners of the 16th Annual Maple Blues Awards
Colin James
Suzie Vinnick
Matt Andersen

Suzie Vinnick
Steve Kozak


“A Natural Fact" Steve Strongman, Producer Rob Szabo

(Lifetime Achievement)
Matt Minglewood
Tedeschi Trucks Band
Steve Strongman
Steve Marriner
David Vest
Jon Wong
Matt Sobb
Steve Strongman
  John Valenteyn

For more information contact:
Sarah French
Sarah French Publicity
416-566-4188 |
Jordan Safer
Toronto Blues Society
416-538-3885 |