Tonight three acts in harmony, united together by the love of the blues, and the power of vocals to shape the song. Also the fact that Bluesdoodles found all three women’s current albums they are stupendous with ten doodle paws. Three different acts brought together under the banner Ladies of the Blues. As Kyla Brox, Connie Lush and Erja Lyytinen delivered blues that raised the temperature in The Tunnels tonight.
First up Kyla and her husband Danny Blomeley as a duet astounding everyone who has not heard Kyla’s beautiful, colourful voice with an astonishing vocal range shaping the lyrics making every song special. With no set list the pair were flying blind, the music was played with pure joy. Unsurprisingly many of the numbers were from her latest album Throw Away Your Blues. This duet is not all about the vocals but also the shimmer and shine of Danny’s guitar of choice tonight an acoustic with silky licks and riffs that add tonal texture and a percussive edge filling in the bass parts.
Kyla is a performer engaging the audience with smiles and chatting, so the audience feels they are in the presence of a friend. The performance was stunning, breathtaking a duet that is pure class and then Kyla picks up her flute adding a tonal texture counterbalancing the voice. Kyla is in total control of both the flute and her majestic voice, Kyla is the Queen of the Blues. The audience was delighted to join in on 365 with the call and holler. We all hollered back 3-6-5 with enthusiasm. The blues flowed with passion and the final number Kyla gave the audience a choice, Etta James, or Sam Cooke or Leonard Cohen – we were greedy and wanted all three so Danny decided. The opening chords rang out and then Kyla picked up the mood closing the opening forty-five minute set with Nina Simone’s, Feeling Good. As usual a brilliant set from the empress of the Blues!
Next up the award-winning fun loving Grand Dame of British Blues the effervescent Connie Lush and her band. Another marvellous voice full of soul and a husband and wife team with Terry on bass. Connie is so entertaining, chatting with the audience as if they are old friends, laughing and sharing the joy that she spreads every time she steps foot on stage. Connie and her band delivered pure electric blues of the highest quality. What a night we are having. Her set list was full of her favourites and numbers from her latest album Renaissance, the wonderful slow blues of Lonely boy and the poignant Don’t Say Goodbye. A favourite of Connie has always been Bobby Bland and tonight she delivered a very special version of 24 Hours Blues. The fun side of Connie’s personality came out with their version of Rolling & Tumbling with the expected banter introducing the song. Closing the set out with the song Connie wrote for her mother Blame It all on Me, leaves you humming the refrain long after the music is silenced.
The music was not silenced for long tonight it was Erja Lyytinen the Finnish slide player extraordinaire the final act of the evening in the company of The Ladies of The Blues. The first vocalist that also played the guitar. What a fabulous combination the six-strings and her unique vocal delivery. This was another change is style, another high-class act that fits perfectly on the complicated and diverse roadmap of styles that make up the family defined as the Blues. Erja’s band brought us the first keys of the evening and slide guitar the electric blues shimmered filling The Tunnels with textured delight. The style is blues, at times less traditional, contemporary and with the hardened edge of rock. With highlights numbers from her stylish album Stolen Hearts.
The set was forty-five minutes but that did not curtail Erja’s style and fitted in her prog-rocky Black Ocean always a stunning ten-minutes with that magical combination of guitar and vocals from the Finnish Wildcat in total control of the Tunnels tonight. Erja had two amazing acts to follow with the impeccable standards set by Kyla and Connie she didn’t disappoint the rise in tempo and energy was an intoxicating mix for everyone in the audience tonight at The Tunnels.
Erja had no need to prove her blues credentials. The slow blues was simply awe-inspiring followed by a showcase of blues style. As her slide, blues guitar gave us an insight into the tonal magic of Son House, Muddy Waters, Mississippi John Hurt and finally Robert Johnson. This blues party piece proved that blues has always been flexible and the classics all come to the blues through different manipulation of the mighty six-strings. Finishing off her set with Rocking Chair we had been royally entertained by The Ladies of The Blues.
The stage fell silent, what would be the encore? All three came on singing acapella a fantastic finale for a magnificent night of the blues. The night was not yet to end as Erja’s band joined the trio to deliver (I can’t get no) Satisfaction it was glorious and everyone left the building very satisfied.
Get ready to be excited having heard the studio and now recorded versions of the first single, Without You from Erja’s much anticipated forthcoming album, due out in the autumn.