Album Reviews

MonkeyJunk – To Behold (Stony Plain)

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The members of MonkeyJunk may hail from Canada, but their music has strong roots in American blues and rock ‘n’ roll. Their latest CD explores a nice variety of roots music styles, from down-home blues to southern soul.

“Mother’s Crying” is an up-tempo blues tune that’s propelled by guitarist Tony D’s driving slide riffs. There’s a touch of gospel harmony on “Running In The Rain,” while Steve Marriner’s harmonica playing is warm and expressive. “The Marrinator,” which starts out as a laid-back acoustic jam then kicks into electric overdrive, is another great showcase for Marriner’s harp blowing. The gut-wrenching slow blues “Let Her Down” features some beautiful interplay between Tony D’s soulful guitar leads and Marriner’s swirling organ chords. “With These Hands” and “All About You” are two of the CD’s strongest tracks. Both tunes find the band settling into a sweet, melodic soul groove. Marriner’s voice and keyboard playing shine brightly on these tunes, and Tony D’s terse guitar riffs capture the spirit of Stax Records.

Strong instrumental chops and a deep appreciation for American roots music make MonkeyJunk’s To Behold an album worth hearing.
—Jon Kleinman

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