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"Monkey Junk - Tiger In Your Tank CD review"

The buzz surrounding this new group derives from its performances: full of energy and excitement. It’s as though these talented players had just heard Muddy Waters for the first time, so enthusiastically do they dive into the songs. The buzz led to their being nominated for a Maple Blues Award with no release in hand, although a promotional EP was ready by the time of their appearance at the Blues Summit. Their third place finish at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis has only served to heighten the anticipation for this, their first full release. If you’re wondering where the band name comes from, the CD opens with the answer: Son House growls “I’m talking about the blues, I ain’t talkin’ about monkey junk” whereupon Steve Marriner, Tony D & Matt Sobb launch into Muddy’s swaggering “I Wanna Put A Tiger In Your Tank” with every bit of the energy of a live performance. Not the easiest thing to do, even for veterans such as these. They have good original tunes too: “Small Time Evil” is up next on the disc and it has by far the most hits on their MySpace site. Magic Sam and Otis Rush are up next before a Marriner original, “When Push Comes To Shove”. It’s a funky workout with Marriner on organ, adding that instrument to his arsenal of harp & guitars. If this is what Son House calls monkey junk, then I’m a fan! “Beefy” is a band instrumental with Tony D on electric slide. “Pay The Cost” is another band original but one that’s firmly based in the Muddy songbook. “Boogie Man” is vintage Freddie King from his Shelter period and strikingly well played. “Leave The Rest To You” would be my choice for the second single, after “Small Time Evil”, of course. This one is a tuneful love song with a catchy chorus, perfect for radio. Tony D’s slide solo is spot on. He’s the featured vocalist on his “Blues For Anna”, an excellent song he’s recorded before but not this well. “Gutsy”, another solid instrumental, concludes the disc. Matt Sobb shouldn’t be overlooked because his work on drums, cymbals, tambourine, shaker & maracas is vital to the sound. Their web site is www.monkeyjunkband.com, it’ll link you to their other sites and it’ll let you know that their only area appearances are at the Orangeville Blues & Jazz Festival and the Beaches Jazz Festival in July. Catch them wherever you can. A good band is always more than the sum of its parts, this is very much the story of Monkey Junk.

jvalenteyn8724@rogers.com - Maple Blues Online - John's Blues Picks


"Ottawa artists vie for Maple Blues awards"

Ottawa artists vie for Maple Blues awards
Several area acts nominated as organizers prepare to honour late Jeff Healey
Lynn Saxberg, The Ottawa Citizen
Published: Friday, October 31, 2008
Judging by the list of nominees for the 2009 Maple Blues Awards, it's been a good year for the Ottawa-area blues scene. A half-dozen acts with roots in the nation's capital are among the nominees, while several more are signed to Ottawa's NorthernBlues label.
Ottawa guitarist JW-Jones, Gatineau's Roxanne Potvin and harp man Steve Marriner, as well as Marriner's new band, MonkeyJunk, are among the nominees for Maple Blues awards, which celebrate the best in Canadian blues.
The field also includes NorthernBlues artists Paul Reddick, Watermelon Slim and Carlos del Junco.
Announced in Toronto yesterday, the main thrust of this year's edition of the annual awards is to pay tribute to Jeff Healey, the celebrated Canadian guitarist who died of cancer in March at the age of 41. Healey and his band members lead the pack of nominees with a total of seven nods.
Up against Healey in two categories (electric act of the year and guitarist of the year) is Ottawa's JW-Jones, whose fifth album, Bluelisted, came out this year.
Gatineau-bred guitarist Potvin takes on Dawn Tyler Watson, Shakura S'Aida and Treasa Levasseur and former Ottawan Suzie Vinnick for female vocalist of the year.
In the battle for harmonica player of the year, Ottawa's Marriner faces off against Carlos del Junco, Guy Belanger, Paul Reddick and another former Ottawan, Jerome Godboo.
To Marriner's surprise, his new project, MonkeyJunk, (with Ottawa guitar hero Tony D and veteran drummer Matt Sobb) was announced as one of the contenders for new artist/group of the year.
"I'm very surprised and impressed that we got nominated without even having a record out," he said.
(MonkeyJunk also won the Ottawa Blues Society's recent blues challenge, and will be heading to Memphis for the International Blues Challenge.)
Maple Blues awards are determined through public voting. Register and cast your vote online at www.mapleblues.ca, starting Saturday. The polling system closes Dec. 6. Winners will be named during a gala in Toronto on Jan. 19.
- Ottawa Citizen


"Monkeying with the blues"

Monkeying with the blues
Fateema Sayani, The Ottawa Citizen
Published: Thursday, November 06, 2008
Three of Ottawa's finest musicians are playing hooky from the setlist with ad-libbed, unrehearsed blues jams performed under the name MonkeyJunk.
It sounds like a kind of bad weed or bubblegum -- unless you're a steeped blues geek. In which case, you'll know that the name is taken from legendary Delta bluesman Son House who, when trying to underline the important history and moods of the genre, told a chronicler, "I'm talkin 'bout the blues -- I ain't talkin' 'bout monkey junk." (For the uninitiated, Son House's words live on at YouTube).
Steve Marriner, Tony D and Matt Sobb came up with the name one day earlier this year when the three gathered to listen to old blues records and trade trivia. They had formed the band in April with the conflicting goal of messing around in a truly serious manner. The plan was this: make the music fun and loose, but keep the business of touring and putting out albums militant in its commitment.
There was enough experience between them to know the approach could work: Sobb (drums) and Marriner (rhythm guitar, vocals, harp) spent years in the JW-Jones band and as tour support for Sue Foley and Harry Manx, among others. Meanwhile, Tony D (lead guitar, vocals) has six releases to his name and nine European tours under his belt. As MonkeyJunk, they've earned a Maple Blues Award nomination for best newcomers, an amusing nod since, as individuals, they are mainstays of the scene.
Having skilled players means you can afford to play around a bit. It adds life to the set, particularly as the trio tries to fill out the low end to compensate for the lack of a bass player.
"Four-piece blues bands and power trios are a dime-a-dozen, so we were trying to think of something that would set us apart," Marriner says, while acknowledging guys like Lazy Lester, Little Walter and Hound Dog Taylor who had similar set-ups.
"We're heavily into the old blues stuff," Marriner says, "but we've got new ideas."
The proof is in the tunes, which include fiery, electrified originals and warmed-over, completely reinterpreted rarities such as Give Me Time by Magic Sam and Tiger In Your Tank by Muddy Waters. An album is in the works for the New Year with the hope that the name MonkeyJunk will be on everyone's lips.
"It's a catchy name that no one forgets," Marriner, says. "For me, monkey junk means just screwing around -- which, for the most part, is what we do."
MonkeyJunk plays the Black Sheep Inn, 753 Riverside Dr., Wakefield, Sunday with The Fugitives. All ages, 4 p.m., $7 (half-price for students; free for those under 12 and over 75).
Contact Fateema Sayani at fateema.sayani@gmail.com.
- Ottawa Citizen


"Hey Hey They're The Monkeys!"

Hey, hey, they're the Monkeys

Born from a Sunday jam session, Ottawa blues trio thrives by keeping it raw and simple

BY LYNN SAXBERG, THE OTTAWA CITIZENAPRIL 4, 2009



MONKEYJUNK CD RELEASE PARTY
When & where: 8 p.m., today and 4 p.m., Sunday at the Black Sheep Inn, Wakefield.
Tickets: $10, www.Ticketweb.ca
or 1-888-222-6608


Not long into an in-depth analysis of MonkeyJunk's music, Steve Marriner had something to say. He took a gulp of Scotch to fortify his thought, but suddenly started sputtering and coughing.
A few minutes and a glass of water later, the 24-year-old singer-songwriter went back to his revelation: it wasn't natural for him and bandmates, Tony Diteodoro, 46, and Matt Sobb, 36, to be sitting around dissecting their music.
"I think it's funny that we're analysing the sound so much now because when we started we didn't think about it that much," Marriner said. The others nodded in agreement.
To recap the one-year history of the band, the idea for MonkeyJunk was born in Diteodoro's kitchen where he and Marriner listened to old blues records, including the likes of Hound Dog Taylor and Little Walter. "None of them had bass on it," noted Marriner. "I thought that was cool."
Marriner, of course, is recognized as one of Canada's top young blues artists, this year's recipient of the Maple Blues award for harp player of the year. Harp is his first instrument, but he also sings, plays keyboards and guitar, and writes songs. He grew up learning the blues from guys like Diteodoro, the blues-rock guitar hero better known across the country as Tony D. The two men have been friends for years.
Around this time last year, Marriner had a steady gig hosting the Sunday jam at Irene's. He thought it would be fun to invite Diteodoro and Sobb down to mess around with the no-bass configuration. He even had a name for the project: MonkeyJunk, which he picked up from Son House.
The first time the three sat down to play together, the chemistry clicked into place. Sobb, an admitted skeptic, was intrigued, and Diteodoro found himself looking forward to the next Sunday.
"After that first night, even though we didn't rehearse, we just did it, and I thought, 'Wow.' It was that successful. I thought, 'This could work if we actually put some work and thought into it,' " Sobb recalls.
As it turned out, the thing began to snowball before they discussed any sort of plan. The Sunday jam was packed every week; the buzz on their soulful boogie-blues spread like wildfire. Word was a supergroup was in the making. It was time of high creativity for the musicians.
"I've been playing for a long time," Diteodoro says, "and one of the things that was happening for me personally was, I was kinda getting tired of doing the same old thing, which was go up on stage and play a million guitar solos. So this became very important to me because this was going into a style of playing that I was always capable of doing. All the different styles of playing are now being put into use. It became a very precious thing to me."
One gig led to another for the new band. They made appearances at a couple of blues festivals, booked a tour of the Maritimes and entered the Ottawa Blues Society's contest to get to the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. There was also a surprise Maple Blues nomination for best new act, unheard of for a band that had yet to record.
In Memphis in February, the band was a bit hit, placing third in a field of 100 acts from around the world. Although MonkeyJunk handed out a four-song memory stick, an item that was hugely popular with delegates, they knew they still had to finish their full-length recording debut. "Not that we were rushed, but we realized we needed to focus on that and get it done," said Marriner.
The sizzling Tiger in Your Tank will be released this weekend at the Black Sheep Inn. The spare sound seems fresh to the ears of contemporary blues listeners who are accustomed to hearing electric bass. On the record, the cover songs sound new, while the originals may remind you of a vintage number you haven't heard before.
Still, the magic of MonkeyJunk seems to boil down to the chemistry between the band members. With a Western tour starting next month, then a summer of gigs, each member is rearranging his life to meet the schedule. They feel compelled to make the commitment.
"I can honestly say if it never left Irene's, it would still be cool and fun, but we'd be doing ourselves a disservice because I think we've got an original sound," says Marriner. "We feed off each other and we're really good friends. We're playing what we want to play, we're all having input and people are seeing that we're having a good time. That's our main goal."
© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen

- Ottawa Citizen


"Tiger In Your Tank CD review"

Monkeys get the blues

Ottawa trio finds inspiration in Son House and cranks it up

THE OTTAWA CITIZEN
APRIL 11, 2009


MonkeyJunk Tiger In Your Tank (Independent) - Rating * * * *

MonkeyJunk's first album kicks off with the mumbled words of Son House: "I'm talkin' about the blues," growls the veteran bluesman, "I ain't talkin' about monkeyjunk."
Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Steve Marriner, guitarist Tony Diteodoro and drummer Matt Sobb set out to figure out what he was talking about. The noted Ottawa musicians formed MonkeyJunk a year ago, and have a musical definition that's soulful, swampy and steeped in the blues.
Taking another cue from their blues elders, they created the band without a bass player, sticking with that configuration for their first foray into the studio.
The album, Tiger In Your Tank, is terrific, laying out a range of influences, styles and personal observations in one juicy slab of stripped-back blues. Between Marriner's baritone-guitar work, Sobb's precision and Diteodoro's exploration of the rhythmic possibilities of six strings, you hardly notice the lack of bass. The vibe is unplugged, but there's definitely a backbone.
The song selection features well-chosen covers placed alongside MonkeyJunk originals. Your heart will melt when you hear Marriner singing Magic Sam's Give Me Time, while Diteodoro's dirty guitar on Leon Russell's Boogie Man is hypnotizing.
As for the originals, listen for the voodoo riffing that drives Small Time Evil, the dazzling Hammond organ and guitar work on Push Comes to Shove, and Diteodoro's evocative fretmanship on Blues for Anna. All three musicians are monstrously talented, as well as old friends, and Tiger In Your Tank does a great job of capturing the chemistry between them.

Lynn Saxberg
- Ottawa Citizen


"In veteran hands, Monkey shines"

In veteran hands, Monkey shines

Guitars-and-drums trio places third in blues showcase, lines up festival dates

By Peter North, FreelanceApril 24, 2009 10:13 AM



Members of the band MonkeyJunk, from left, Steve Marriner, Tony D and Matt Sobb pose for a portrait at Irene's pub in Ottawa recently.
Photograph by: Christopher Pike, Ottawa CitizenLast year, Ottawa's Steve Marriner put himself on solo cruise control and rolled across Western Canada, presenting his one-man blues show.

Until that tour, he had been best-known for his ferocious and exacting licks as a harmonica player, impressing audiences as a member of the JW Jones band and as a terrific foil for Harry Manx. But on tour, Marriner showed himself to be a much broader talent who is willing to take chances.

Over the course of a couple of nights at the Blue Chair Cafe, Marriner strapped on a guitar, snapped a harp in a rack, hammered on a kick drum and leaned into a microphone, reeling off a couple of dozen tunes. Many of the pieces were blues from classic sources, and if Marriner tripped up the odd time while immersing himself in a Jesse Fuller kind of setting, he hit his share of bullseyes.

Always keeping his ears and mind open to new ideas, Marriner found himself playing a regular Sunday night gig in Ottawa that has blossomed into something special.

He returns to town as a member of MonkeyJunk, a trio with sizzle and no bass player. Well-known Ottawa picker Tony D, drummer Matt Sobb and Marriner, playing guitar and harps, have made inroads in the international blues community in less than a year.

"Tony and I were talking about guys like Houndog Taylor (whose band didn't include bass) and how it might be interesting to put something together with no bass player. We trotted it out at this joint called Irene's in Ottawa. We started playing sitting down, which created a cool vibe. The people loved it and so did we," says Marriner, who lifted the name MonkeyJunk from a line in one of his favourite Son House songs.

Realizing they had something worth nurturing, the trio began to write more material, started cutting tunes, entered the annual International Blues Challenge in Memphis and continued booking gigs, which weren't that hard to come up with given the members' reputations.

The band landed 11 Canadian festival dates this summer, finished an impressive third at the Memphis competition and have just pressed a run of a disc titled Tiger In Your Tank.

The bonuses from the Memphis showing include a festival date in Mississippi in 2010 and another in France this coming November.

"The sound we've come up with isn't exactly a jam-band approach, but we don't have many restrictions," Marriner says. "I do the lion's share of the singing, and Tony does a couple a set. On the album, we cut seven originals and four adaptations."

MonkeyJunk plays tonight and Saturday night at 8 p.m. at the Blue Chair, 9624 76th Ave. Tickets are $20.

- Edmonton Journal


"Striving To Hit the Right Note"

Striving to hit the right note
By Courtney Pollock

OTTAWA | January 2009 — Monkey see, monkey do anew. Ottawa musicians Steve Marriner (guitar, vocals, harmonica), Tony Diteodoro a.k.a. Tony D (lead guitar, vocals) and Matt Sobb (drums) are MonkeyJunk, a band dedicated to revamping old blues tunes while adding its own groove songs to the set list.

The band draws upon the flavour of old blues music and plays it its own way, says Marriner, 24. "We take that kind of stuff and we mix it with a little bit more modern grooves, you know, put it in terms that people today can understand."
"We sort of take a lot of the old world and funk it up a little bit, swamp it up a bit," adds Diteodoro, 46.
At this writing, MonkeyJunk is set to represent the Ottawa blues scene at the 25th International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tenn. Under the global spotlight, the band will get the chance to showcase its brand of blues and compete against other blues acts for cash, prizes and music-industry recognition.
The Challenge, presented by the Memphis-based Blues Foundation, runs Feb. 4-7, 2009, and draws blues musicians from across the globe into an epic battle of the bands. In 2008, 100 bands and 60 solo/duo acts took part.
The venue will mark MonkeyJunk's first American performance as a band, and the trio will do its best to woo audiences, playing its self-described fusion of swamp boogie, R&B and soul music: dynamic originals as well as oldie revivals.
'There is always going to be a niche market for what we do.'
"We play music that is people's music," says Marriner. "Even if it's not in the forefront of, you know, commercial success or whatever, it's going to be there, and there is always going to be a niche market for what we do. We are playing music that is honest; it's talking about subjects that everyone can relate to."
Whether that music resonates with the International Blues Challenge judges is not the band's ultimate goal. For MonkeyJunk, the real prize is the opportunity to get bookings and notice from record labels and industry people, the band members say.
"The really important thing is that you get exposure in front of a lot of festival promoters down in the States," says Diteodoro. "And this is a wonderful way to [do that].
"I feel very confident about this band impressing the industry people that are there quite a bit, and I think that we will get stuff coming out of that, and that is really important."
Rather than looking to Memphis as an opportunity to make it big all at once, MonkeyJunk hopes at least to gain exposure toward becoming a festival-circuit mainstay, says Marriner. "Not that Memphis is the golden ticket, but it is a stepping stone along the way."
"If we reached a point where we became a band that could play regularly on festivals throughout North America and Europe, Australia maybe, for us that would be making it big. Because that's what we want. That's our goal," says Sobb, 36.
And that would be an achievement, considering MonkeyJunk wasn't around a year ago.
Beginning of a blues band
Marriner approached Tony D with the idea to form the band in early spring 2008. They completed the trio by calling Sobb to tell him he would be along for the ride.
"That is absolutely how it happened," says Sobb. "When [Steve] called it's like there was no asking, there was just telling and it didn't matter, because I was totally down from the word go."
The band's name, like its music, stems from its blues influences. Delta blues legend Son House once said, "I'm talkin' 'bout the blues. I ain't talkin' 'bout monkey junk." The name sounded funny and catchy to Marriner, and it stuck.
The trio estimate that they boast more than 50 years of combined experience playing music. Marriner is an established harmonica player who has toured internationally with blues acts like Harry Manx and fellow Ottawa musician JW-Jones. Tony D has six albums to his credit with his act, the Tony D band, and nine European tours to boot. And Sobb has beat the drumsticks with acts that include the Tony D band and JW-Jones. They are no strangers to the Ottawa blues scene.

"Ottawa has an incredibly fine reputation as sort of a real hot-bed of blues," says Liz Sykes, president of the Ottawa Blues Society, in a telephone interview. "We have a Canadian reputation as having fantastic blues players." JW-Jones and Juno Award-winner Sue Foley are just a few acts to emerge from the Ottawa blues scene.
The city features many talented and versatile musicians that play a variety of blues genres, and MonkeyJunk is no exception, says Sykes. "Tony is a journeyman blues player in Ottawa's blues scene. Steve is an up-and-comer who started out as a 14-year-old wiz and some [10] years down the road is definitely living up to his promise. Matt is like the quintessential sideman. People don't necessarily know him or recognize his face, but he's played with everybody.
"I just think they are extremely talented and versatile guys. I don't think anything [in Memphis] will faze them."
MonkeyJunk solidified itself playing Sunday night gigs at Irene's Pub in the Glebe. Eventually they started drawing crowds, and things blossomed. Playing shows from the outset helped the band develop sooner and skip the fine-tuning sessions in the basement, which are common for new bands, says Sobb.
But Diteodoro jokingly acknowledges that MonkeyJunk is still a work in progress. "Some things need work, and we know that there is going to come a time when we actually, probably, sit down in the basement."
The band punched its ticket to Memphis by winning a local blues challenge organized by the Ottawa Blues Society in October. The band's selection marks the first time the Ottawa society has entered a representative in the International Blues Challenge.

As a member of The Blues Foundation, the Ottawa Blues Society can appoint a representative to compete in the International Blues Challenge. The society opted to do so, for the first time ever, for in this Challenge year; but instead of appointing a band outright, the society hosted its own blues challenge, giving local blues acts the chance to win their way to Memphis. MonkeyJunk prevailed.
"This particular band obviously is, if you like, almost local superstars," says Sykes, in reference to each band member's résumé. Also, the trio's format adds an interesting element, she says.
MonkeyJunk plays without a bass player, contrary to the traditional power trio of guitar, bass and drums. And despite receiving offers to fill the vacancy, the band prefers the status quo.
"Part of survival these days is finding a format that is atypical. Four-piece blues bands are a dime a dozen," says Marriner, who instead chimes in with a baritone guitar.
The blues music style involves playing notes at a lower pitch, generally producing a melancholy sound.
"I think it completely influences our sound. [With] this type of format, before we even play a note it's different," Marriner adds.
Debut album on deck
Apart from its selection for the Memphis Challenge, the band has captured other attention.
MonkeyJunk picked up a 2008 nomination for a Maple Blues Award, which honours the best in the Canadian blues scene: they got the nod for best new artist/group of the year. "That actually really surprised me because we don't even have the record out yet," says Marriner.
'Awards are great and all that, but the real recognition is on that stage, getting it on that real basic human level.'
While such accolades are a compliment, for Sobb true recognition comes in a very different form. "It's flattering, it's nice to be recognized," he says. "The proof is in the pudding, though. The real recognition I think we get is from the crowds when we play live, from people that like our music, that will buy our music.
"Awards are great and all that, but the real recognition is on that stage, getting it on that real basic human level."
"Satisfying the audience is a big deal," adds Diteodoro. "It does keep you going and it gives you the motivation to keep going."
MonkeyJunk's debut album, Tiger In Your Tank, titled after a track by bluesman Muddy Waters, should be set for release in February or March 2009.
"It's going to be a solid, soulful record," says Marriner. "You can expect a sound that is traditional yet original, and you can expect a lot of intensity."
MonkeyJunk has already featured some of its tunes on its MySpace page, and they hope the responses will continue to pour in after release of the complete album. "I'm hoping people will go, 'That's the best thing I've heard out of this type of music in a while,'" says Sobb.
After Memphis, MonkeyJunk expects to take its show on the road with a Western Canada tour in April and another trip to the East Coast in late summer or early fall. Ultimately, the band hopes to broaden its tour circuit to Europe and the United States, says Diteodoro.
With all that MonkeyJunk has accomplished before its first birthday, the band is looking to keep the grooves going strong, says Marriner.
"Whatever this vibe is, it's working."

http://www.carleton.ca/sjc/capitalarts/Pollock/MonkeyJunk-Pollock.html
- Capital Arts Online


"MonkeyJunk impresses judges"

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

MonkeyJunk, the supergroup of the Ottawa blues scene, played its way to an impressive third-place finish in the 2009 International Blues Challenge, a talent competition that took place in Memphis earlier this month.

The Ottawa-based trio features the hot young harmonica-player, Steve Marriner, this year's Maple Blues harp champ, in ensemble with one of his mentors, veteran guitar-blazer Tony D, along with drummer Matt Sobb. Their swampy boogie-blues placed third out of a field of more than 100 acts from around the world.

"It was pretty incredible, considering we don't even have an album out yet," Marriner said, predicting that it will fast-track them into the international blues industry. The challenge is a four-day affair that attracts labels, agents, festival directors and promoters from several continents.

Touted as the world's largest gathering of blues acts, it's run by the Blues Foundation, a Memphis-based non-profit organization dedicated to the support of blues music. Acts are often selected by their local blues societies, through a contest or audition process, to represent their region.

MonkeyJunk was the winner in the Ottawa Blues Society's first On the Road To Memphis showdown, held last fall. The society helped out with the musicians' expenses in travelling to Memphis.

On Saturday, the band is celebrating the accomplishment at Tucson's Road House. It's also a welcome-home bash from the blues society.

As for their debut album, MonkeyJunk has been recording with Jason Jaknunas at Ottawa's Metropolitan Studios, and are planning a spring release.


http://www.ottawacitizen.com/entertainment/MonkeyJunk+impresses+judges/1300351/story.html
- Ottawa Citizen


Discography

promo 4 song EP - July 2008

full length debut release "Tiger In Your Tank" coming April 2009

Photos

Bio

Legendary delta bluesman Son House spoke about a passion for his music and was quoted as saying "I'm talkin’ 'bout the blues. . . I ain't talkin' 'bout monkey junk!" MonkeyJunk is a band that draws heavily on the legends of the blues and translates that influence into a contemporary blend of swamp R&B, soul boogie and bedroom funk. This triple threat trio comprised of Steve Marriner, Tony D and Matt Sobb draws on over 56 years of combined experience playing blues live and in studio . . . and it shows.

In the fall of 2008, MonkeyJunk was nominated for a Maple Blues Award for best new artist - a rare feat only having been in exsistence for 6 months and not having released a record yet . . . In February 2009, MonkeyJunk represented Ottawa, Canada at The International Blues Challenge held in Memphis, TN competing amongst 100 bands from Poland, Croatia, Norway, Italy, Israel, Sweden, France, Australia and North America. After the smoke cleared on Beale St., MonkeyJunk had placed third overall!

STEVE MARRINER is widely recognized as one of Canada’s premier harp players. Steve has toured and performed at prestigious festivals, concert halls and clubs internationally with acoustic bluesman Harry Manx and guitar goddess Sue Foley. He’s appeared on a number of other artists’ recordings including Harry Manx, JW Jones Blues Band, and Steve Dawson. The 24-year-old’s debut album Going Up (released March 13, 2007) showcases his range of talents with well-crafted original songs, strong vocals, dynamic harp and kickin’ grooves. Enthralled with the harmonica at an early age, Steve studied the great Chicago harp players while immersing himself in the music of Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Lazy Lester and The Fabulous Thunderbirds. At age 14, he won the Ottawa Blues Harp Blow-Off and a spot on stage at the Ottawa Cisco Blues Festival that summer, and they’ve invited him to play every year since. In January 2009 Steve won the best harmonica player award at the Maple Blues Awards held at The Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto.

TONY D is a mainstay on the Canadian blues scene whose eponymous band has been playing for over two decades. Recording, playing live and touring internationally have given rise to a widely-known reputation for a guitar player/singer/songwriter with the goods to deliver. Some highlights include 9 European tours; playing festivals on both sides of the Atlantic to crowds of over 20,000 people; entertaining Canadian Forces troops in the Middle East, Bosnia and Alert; releasing 6 CDs to critical acclaim and giving back to the community through his involvement in Blues In The Schools, as well as various local and international charities including the Ottawa Cancer Foundation and international relief agencies.

MATT SOBB is a busy Ottawa-based freelance drummer whose focus had shifted to MonkeyJunk. His freelancing has allowed him to play live and in studio with many renowned artists such as Jeff Healey, Johnnie Johnson (Chuck Berry), Kim Wilson (The Fabulous Thunderbirds), Colin Linden, Richard Bell (The Band, Janis Joplin, Bonnie Raitt), Tom Wilson (Blackie & The Rodeo Kings, Junkhouse), Lee Oskar (War), Juno Award winner The Mighty Popo, David Gogo, Shaun Verrrault (Widemouth Mason) and many more . . . his experience and love of all roots music is evident here as he drives the groove with efficiency and style. Matt proudly endorses LOS CABOS drumsticks!

MonkeyJunk’s debut “TIGER IN YOUR TANK” will be released in April 2009 and the rest of 2009 will see the band touring coast to coast in Canada - appearing at your favorite juke joints, divebars, theatres and festival stages . . .