Erja Lyytinen brings the Warmth of Finnish Blues to Bristol Tonight

Erja Lyytinen brings the Warmth of Finnish Blues to Bristol Tonight

Erja Lyytinen brings the Warmth of Finnish Blues to Bristol Tonight



Tonight The Tunnels welcomed Erja Lyytinen and her support band Red Butler to Bristol for the first and definitely not the last time. Tuesday night was blues night that filled the arches with music that was full of energy and played with style.

Erja Lyytinen brings the Warmth of Finnish Blues to Bristol TonightOpening tonight Red Butler with their new line-up that many in the audience had not had the opportunity to hear yet. Alex Butler, Mike Topp and Charlie Simpson are joined by Dan Spellman on vocals and guitar. With a change of vocalist, the dynamics of the band have definitely changed. The interactions between the four members on a cramped stage space was natural and full of energy that is the fuel for their rocky blues. With Dan as the vocalist adds a harder edge to their sound, which certainly suits the direction they took on Nothing To Loose. The set reflected this with the numbers taken predominately from the album. The new vitalized Red Butler tonight added to their skills some brilliant harmonization between Alex, Dan and Mike. The whole set was played with aplomb, the sound was very tight and the interplay between the guitarists was intuitive and worked well set against the rhythm section.

Calm Before The Storm was a highlight, they nailed it. Other highlights of a short set that showcased the band was Belly Of TheErja Lyytinen brings the Warmth of Finnish Blues to Bristol Tonight Blues, rearranged and sounds better with new vocalists adding a layer of drama. Crowd-pleasing cover of Bobby Bland’s Ain’t No Love In The Heart of the City. With the rocky edge more akin to Bernie Marsden/Whitesnake version and sounds wonderful and the audience gladly added their voice to the chorus. Mike took the role of the wolf, complete with a mask for Big Bad Wolf, combined with the music adding to the live experience. A great set, the only pity was not more people had turned out on a Tuesday to hear blues rock at The Tunnels.

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Short break, change of sound man, Mikko Kiviniemi takes charge of the desk as Erja Lyytinen and her band take control of The Tunnels. For those familiar with the queen of the slide guitar, already familiar with her new direction on Stolen Hearts her current album provided anticipation for a night of full-on blues that flexes its muscles. Her music explores and captures the vibes of funk, prog rock and more. The energy flowed from the stage and across the venue. The band was determined that everyone was going to have fun and be left with a memory of musicianship that brought music alive.


The band provided the cascading backdrop of sound from which Erja could fly with her vocals and guitar. Tonight in control of Hammond and keys from the magical energised fingers of Harri Taittonen. Whilst the deep and sometimes dark rhythms were delivered by bassist Juha Verona and Kai Jokiaho on drums. A powerhouse captured in a quartet.  Erja the flying Fin with her sparkling Sapphire blue guitar and glass slide set the second half of the evening into a tumultuous celebration of the blues, a theme she returned to throughout the evening.

Despite the disappointing turnout Erja did not disappoint with a wonderful balance of authentic Blues, Blues Rock and ‘ProggishErja Lyytinen brings the Warmth of Finnish Blues to Bristol Tonight Rock’ showcasing why she is so popular and is gaining a fan base whenever she plays in the UK.  Her guitar work is impeccable, full of grace and style and her interaction with the audience is warm Erja Is the real deal. The set delivered was storming as they played the last gig of the current UK tour.

With numbers from Stolen Hearts including the title track that was a highlight with lots of joyous interaction and community singing for the chorus. The centre piece and the absolute highlight of the evening was Black Ocean. With deep driving blues textures, heavy riffs and rhythms reflecting the ocean swell dark and dangerous. Erja tonight bought prog-blues to Bristol. We loved it. Showing the depth and breadth of style across the album we had slow blues a thing of beauty as Slowly Burning curled around the arches. Then Rocking Chair the interaction between guitar and bass is immense. As Juha, on bass reflects the rocking beat of the Rocking chair. Live musical magic.

With a Ko Ko Taylor cover, full of slide blues that is rooted firmly in the original African source; and delightful instrumental solo from Erja as she showed the styles of the greats. A medley full of subtle changes and interest that was delivered with fun as she asked the audience if they knew of BB King, Charlie Patton and many more.

With Cross Town Traffic given the Erja treatment along with her version of Steamy Windows an opportunity to be sexy with the audience and get close and personal with Juha on bass. All too soon it was time for the final numbers.  People get Ready where we were treated to guitar that resonated the tone and style of Jeff Beck. Erja tonight was Queen of the Blues. Her playing majestic, stylish with a hint of bedevilment and fun. Live music doesn’t get much better than this!


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Erja Lyytinen brings the Warmth of Finnish Blues to Bristol Tonight

CD Review: Robbie Hill & The Blues 62’s ~ Price To Pay

robbieRobbie Hill & The Blues 62’s
Price To Pay
Blues Boulevard Records

Robbie Hill hails from Fife and has a reputation as a blues player with a huge potential, understanding, feeling and loving the blues. Building on this he toured around the UK and he then expanded his horizons on the advice of Otis Grand, setting out to Scandinavia with backpack and guitar, he met up with another traveller a bass playing American, Jesse King. They connected along with Finnish drummer Tatu Parssinen thus a transcontinental band with a common link in music was formed.

Robbie Hill & The Blues 62’s a was formed with influences from the projects the trio had been involved in with the majority of tracks written by Jessie king or Robbie Hill and closes the album with three varied covers displaying the depth of talent within the band.

Opening with Price To Pay with its moody bass line from Jesse and Robbie’s vocals it feels you know the tones and textures that will dominate this album blues influenced by rock, but there are some surprises with a different tempo and approach. Bad Women steps up the tempo with its drum intro courtesy of Tatu, a name you may recognise as he plays for Finnish guitarist Erja Lyytinen, before the electric guitar sound from Robbie, his vocals remind me of early Oli Brown, the Hammond adds another layer of sound giving the track a full sound that makes you want to keep on listening to the rocky vibe.

No Place to Hide has a dirty sound that is after the style of Southern Rock delivering a powerful track, praising Helsinki a theme he picks up in the next track a cover of Eddie Boyd’s; Praise to Helsinki. Eddie was an American blues pianist and brings a real 1960’s rolling soulful blues to praise Helsinki. This band full of burgeoning talent closes with T-Bone Walker’s Please Coming Back To Me; leaving you with the blues and a feeling that this is a band to look out for as they develop and get their own style.

Robbie Hill and The Blues 62’s have created an album that has showcased the talent of the three of them and they all can play their instruments, what it does lack for me is a cohesive style/theme that draws the tracks together so that you get to know Robbie Hill and the band’s motivations and passions. The Price To Pay is an album full of music that will delight anyone who wants to hear rock motivated blues with a twist and Rock n’ Roll.

Bluesdoodles gives this CD SEVEN doodle paws out of TEN ….pawprint half inch

Robbie Hill:Guitar
Jesse King: Bass
Tatu Parssinen: Drums

Additional Musician
Harri Taittonen: Hammond & keyboards

1. Price To Pay (King/Hill)
2. Morning Light (King/Hill)
3. Bad Woman (King)
4. You Ain’t Right (King)
5. The Love You’re Teaching Me (Hill)
6. Second Chance (King)
7. No Place To Hide (Boyd)
8. Stranger Blues (James)
9. Please Come Back To Me (Walker)

CD Review: Erja Lyytinen ~ The Sky Is Crying

erja-lytinnen-the-sky-is-cryingErja Lyytinen
The Sky Is Crying
TUOHI Records

This is an album that is full of slide-guitar continuing the tradition from the slide Queen herself Finnish Erja Lyytinen as she puts her own style a sassy approach to some true blues classics. The majority of those on this album can be linked back to Elmore James this is an album that has distilled a Musical perfume bottle, full of magic, passion, dexterous slide guitar and that mix of tones and tempos creating the essence of Elmore James.

Within a mix of covers we have two Lyytinen tracks, Erja’s Contribution To Jazz a remixing/working of Elmore’s Contribution To Jazz track full of swish and swirls with a jazzed up tempo that is blues to the core. The other is King Of The Slide Guitar, a track full of warm dobro deftness as she mixes and twirls together an underlying pop inspired melody line and lyrics into this pepper pot of a track full of spicy brashness you have elements of Caribbean, African inspired music but above all once again the slide stands out.

Erja has added to the album her Finnish spirit tones and accent and yes there are the expected covers then there are gems like Sho Nuff I Do & Hand In Hand adding something different with these rarely covered tracks. Sho Nuff, with the shuffle on the drums and her vocals with that accent that is authentically hers really works and allows her to truly express the emotion she feels and the piano just adds that hidden extra. Hand In Hand is the penultimate track and has an upbeat driving rhythm, thanks to Roger and his ever-present understated supporting bass line that comes to the fore here, accentuating the howl of the guitar in every lead break.

Ending with a crowd pleasing favourite live version Dust My Broom, an expected inclusion whenever Erja performs live may be nearly 10 minutes but is not a second too long with a lead break from Davide that is glorious that once again emphasises the perfect storm that Erja cooks up whenever she adds the slide to her finger this is tempestuous guitar playing that takes you to your own bit of blues paradise.

There is no doubt Erja and her band have successfully created a true homage to Elmore James, with her renditions close to the originals. This has been achieved by her slide guitar work it cries with the memory of Elmore and she gets that smoky, funky feel just right and Erja plays with Elmore’s fire in her belly. The Sky Is Crying creates a sound perfect for now with its vitality and freshness, a great introduction to the blues that have gone before and stretches back to Robert Johnson and beyond.

Bluesdoodles gives this CD EIGHT doodle paws out of TEN ….pawprint half inch

Erja Lyytinen: slide guitar, guitar
Davide Floreno: guitar, backing vocals
Roger Inniss: bass
Miri Miettinen: drums
Harri Taittonen: piano, Hammond, accordion
Abidissa Assefa: percussion
Jukka Eskola: trumpet
Petri Puolitaival: tenor sax; baritone sax
Horn arrangments by Erja Lyytinen:

Track Listing
1. Person To Person – (Elmore James)
2. Baby Please Set A Date – (Elmore James)
3. It Hurts Me Too -– (Elmore James)
4. Erja’s Contribution To Jazz – (Lyttinen)
5. The Sky Is Crying – (Elmore James/ Morris Cory/ Clarence Levy)
6. Got To Move – (Elmore James)
7. King Of The Slide Guitar – (Lyytinen)
8. Sho Nuff – (Elmore James)
9. Something Inside Me – (Elmore James)
10. Hand In Hand – (Elmore James)
11. Dust My Broom – (Elmore James)