MOON TURN RED
STONY PLAIN RECORDS SPCD 1382
LIGHT IT UP–YOU–SHOW ME YOURS–HOT HOT PAPA–LOVE ATTACK–LIVE ANOTHER DAY–LEARN HOW TO LOVE–LUCKY ONE–TRAVELIN’ LIGHT–MEET ME AT MIDNIGHT
Ottawa-based trio MonkeyJunk have always been one of our favorite bands since their creation back in 2008. The three players–Tony D on lead guitar, Steve Marriner on vocals, harp, and keys, and Matt Sobb on drums–all had impressive resumes’ within the Canadian blues/roots community, and, as MonkeyJunk, have won twenty Maple Leaf Awards for blues, and one JUNO Award, the Canadian Grammy.
And so it is with their latest set, “Moon Turn Red,” on Stony Plain Records. It is nine band originals and one cool cover that shows why they are so popular, and why we dig ’em so much–they keep listeners on their toes with their eclectic mixes of straight blues, blues-rock, and roots music, and, on this set, even some garage-rock and socially-topical tunes.
The set blasts off with Tony D’s slide wailin’ over a freight train boogie beat in the band’s anthemic “Light It Up, shake ’em on down, when I come to your town!” Two cuts are quite socially-conscious. “Love Attack” follows a reggae beat, with Steve blowin’ some great harp throughout, and “Live Another Day,” set over an ominous groove, reminds us that ‘words come cheap when your life ain’t on the line,” and both songs serve as testimony to the direction the world seems to be headed.
On a much lighter note, a woman with looks so killer that she can make the “moon turn red,” has “every mother’s son wishin’ he was The Lucky One!” The set closes with a sweet shot of roots-rock, as Steve begs an old lover to rekindle their flame and “Meet Me At Midnight, just like we used to.”
We had two favorites, too. The braggadocio-filled swagger of “Hot Hot Papa” is as raucous as it gets, serving as the set’s lone cover. It was written by David Wilcox, who guests on guitar and vocals. And, a lusty look at love is “Show Me Yours and I’ll show you mine,” with a retro, Sixties’-psychedelic groove fueled by organ from Steve.
MonkeyJunk just gets better with each set. “Moon Turn Red” is a fine testimony to their passions for this music and the fact that great players with great material will always win out! Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.