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Booze Monkey - JPop.com
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Booze Monkey

Booze Monkey

Booze Monkey


After three albums of raw, edgy, and boisterous acoustic music, Booze Monkey, the Virginia based act that serves as the moniker for indie artist Blue Ajay, has thrown out the rulebook on his new album, 4th St. With a calliope of sounds and influences, 4th St. is the best reflection yet of the range and talent of this singular musician, revealing like never before the true dimension of his skills as a songwriter, singer and performer. Originally formed in 2002 as an acoustic duo between Blue and Joel Ludwig Read more on Last.fm
After three albums of raw, edgy, and boisterous acoustic music, Booze Monkey, the Virginia based act that serves as the moniker for indie artist Blue Ajay, has thrown out the rulebook on his new album, 4th St. With a calliope of sounds and influences, 4th St. is the best reflection yet of the range and talent of this singular musician, revealing like never before the true dimension of his skills as a songwriter, singer and performer. Originally formed in 2002 as an acoustic duo between Blue and Joel Ludwig, both veterans of the Virginia music scene, Booze Monkey were unique from the start, not an ordinary acoustic duo. With Joel on upright bass and Blue on guitar and vocals, the group used several devices to create their own unique sound; most impressive was Blue's use of a homemade stompbox, an effect that produced a sound somewhere between a foot stomping on a back porch and a bass drum.

With the release of their first album, "Good Luck Mr. Gorsky", in March of 2003, the band found themselves developing a growing and rabid following in Northern Virginia. As Blue remembers, "We played anywhere we could if it was within a two hundred mile radius of Winchester (Virginia). We'd do regional benefits, charity functions, clubs - you name it." And with a four and half hour show, consisting predominately of originals, the duo made their reputation as an act devoted to going more than all the way to meet the needs of the audience. With each weekend and more spent performing, Booze Monkey took advantage of their live prowess by following up their first album with an unofficial "bootleg" release titled Run Linux Run, the e.p.

Savannah Colors (2003) and Sippin' Pretty in the fall of 2004. Their sounds were expanding; by 2004 the duo had their first show with a drummer and they were also joined by a keyboardist and harmonica player. By now Blue had a backlog of over a 100 songs that were ready to record. Blue says, "I was thinking that after we took a break, we would start 2005 in the studio, recording a couple of albums in the 'Gorsky' vein.

But things changed." What changed was that Joel decided to leave their partnership (amicably), and Blue took a year and half off of Booze Monkey to compose and record a film score entitled South Mountain Magic. When he came back to begin the new chapter of Booze Monkey, Blue found he had to really start new. He recalls, "I'm usually prolific, but the sounds, for the first time, took a while to come together." Recording at his own studio, Blue fell back on his experience as a complete musician. "The first instrument I ever played was drums, so I got back to that.

Then I started playing with synths, snippets and ambient sounds. I completely redefined what I could do as Booze Monkey." That willingness to experiment and redefine bears fruit in the new album, 4th St. The bluesy guitar is still there, but there are now traces of rockabilly, like in the propulsive "Solitaire (The Old Way)." And for anyone who only knows the good time vibe of the first incarnation of the band, "Hope" is a shocker; ambient and techno sounds lead to something approaching industrial music, but Blue's songwriting skills keep a melodic heartbeat underneath the throbbing sounds. "Dick Frankenstein's Night Out" takes modern electric blues over new terrain with its careening drums, explosive riffs and sinewy bass.

Blue is understandably proud of 4th St., as it, for the first time, truly reveals the depth of his skills. "This is the first album I can play for anyone and everyone and get the thumbs up," he says with a smile. When Booze Monkey's ravenous fanbase gets a hold of 4th St., it may initially confound their expectations. But those who truly listen will be rewarded with an album of uncommon variety and heart, the true reflection of a musician who has worked all of his life to get to where he is right now. Read more on Last.fm.

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