It’s been an incredible year for Erja Lyytinen and 2019 looks to follow suit.

Over the last twelve months Erja Lyytinen has starred on MTV Finland’s Tahdet Tahdet show, picked up the much coveted European Guitarist of the Year award, performed in front of 80,000 people in her hometown of Helsinki on New Year’s Eve, shared the stage with the legendary Carlos Santana as well as clocking up in excess of 100 headline shows across Europe. An impressive twelve months to say the least.

Erja is currently getting ready to release the eagerly anticipated follow up to her current album Stolen Hearts, with a crowdfunding campaign in support of the release currently gaining momentum online. Lyytinen has recruited some of her esteemed colleagues and friends to feature on the record including high profile guests Sonny Landreth and the first lady of rock guitar Jennifer Batten.

Erja Lyytinen has become somewhat of a regular visitor to Darlington Blues Club over the years. Subsequently, the Finnish slide guitar wizard has built up quite a following in the area; it goes without saying that tonight’s venue is packed to the rafters with blues music fans to welcome her return to Teesside.

Throughout this evening’s show, Erja delivers a show which highlights her astounding guitar playing ability during a performance which fuses the very best of contemporary blues-rock whilst at the same time showcasing her more traditional blues roots.

The first half of the show features a couple of the epic compositions featured on the Stolen Hearts record. This includes the heavy yet funky “Black Ocean”, which is full of emotive playing from Erja and beautiful guitar and Hammond harmonies. At around 7.5 minutes long the track certainly hits the spot.

Lyytinen brings down the pace momentarily with “Slowly Burning”. During this astounding slow blues number, Erja exhibits incredible technique and control. At one point in the song Erja brings down the volume on her guitar right down, and the crowd are so attentive that you could hear a pin drop in the room.

Of course, there is also room in the set for a couple of teasers from Erja’s forthcoming album in the shape of both the incredibly infectious yet heartfelt “Without You” along with her current prog-rock tinged single “Another World”.

In the latter stages of the set Lyytinen pleases the purists with her slide-fuelled take on Koko Taylor’s “I’m A Woman”, which also features a superb and somewhat fun guitar and bass conversation between Erja and bass player Tatu Back.  But it doesn’t stop here, as the ‘Queen of the Slide Guitar’ continues to show her appreciation of the genre with a delta blues medley incorporating songs by legends such as Robert Johnson, Mississippi John Hurt, and Son House to name but a few.

Erja brings her set to an explosive conclusion with a fierce airing of “Rocking Chair”. With its unique time signature in 7 and its hypnotic fuzz fuelled guitar riffs, the song is certainly one of Erja’s heaviest compositions to date. The song also features a hard-hitting drum solo from Iiro Laitinen.

Following a brief interlude, Erja Lyytinen returns to the stage to bring the night to its close with her Elmore James inspired number “King Of The Slide Guitar” from her critically acclaimed Sky Is Crying album.

On the strength of the new music featured in the show this evening, Erja Lyytinen’s forthcoming album is most certainly going to be one to look out for when it drops in the New Year. The current European Guitarist of the Year will be returning to the UK in March for a further headline run and is not to be missed.

Erja Lyytinen
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Event Date: 09-Nov-2018

About The Author

Adam Kennedy is an experienced music photographer based in northeast England. He has been shooting concerts for several years, predominantly with the band Vintage Trouble. In 2013, he was one of their tour photographers, covering the UK and Ireland tour including the headline shows and as opening act for The Who. As an accomplished concert photographer, Adam's work has been featured in print such as, Classic Rock Blues Magazine, Guitarist Magazine, Blues in Britain magazine, broadcast on the MDA Telethon on ABC Television in the US, used in billboard advertising for Renaissance Hotels in the US, and featured online via music blogs such as Uber Rock and Guitar Planet. He is also the official photographer at Newcastle Rock and Blues Club.

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