Last year, we were lucky enough to talk to the multi-faceted Erja Lyytinen about the release of her 2022 album, “Waiting for the Daylight.” At the time, she was talking about how excited she was to take the new songs on the road, and this live album reflects her music as it is now, with a heavier feel than her earlier work, and Erja told us:

“As an artist, I have been a musician who likes to develop and not stay static within a box. Life changes your music, and in a decade, so much changes. Look at what has happened in the world since my last album, “Another World,” in 2019. For artists and performers, we entered a dark period, and I put all that frustration into my music. While we enjoy the sun, let us have a new album.”

Erja Lyytinen is one of the leading blues-rock guitarists on the international touring circuit. During a recording career spanning 19 years, the High-Flying Finn has released twelve studio albums as well as several live albums. Lyytinen’s musical repertoire is extensive, encompassing the very best of modern blues-rock while drawing inspiration and influence from legendary blues musicians of the past. The artist’s last studio album, “Waiting for the Daylight,” was released in 2022 and was ranked #3 on Finland´s Official Physical Album Charts and #14 on the IBBA October Charts in the UK.

Given recent events in the news, I was certainly glad to get this album blasting through the speakers!

It opens with “Diamonds on the Road,” a symphonic blast that delivers that guitar straight between the eyes! 

“Rocking Chair” is up next.” It was the album closer to 2017’s “Stolen Hearts” album. It’s another heads-down rocker with some great guitar breaks, and the drums really punch their weight in this track, which certainly comes over a lot heavier in the live version.

It’s great to hear “Bad Seed” up next. Erja described it to us as a “rocky bluesy song,” and on the studio version, it has a more country twang to it (check out the country line dancers in the official video!). You would not line dance to the live version; it is much more hard-edged, and the bass and drum sound is stronger and connected to rock roots (remember, Erja has a love of Black Sabbath).

Photo by Rapha

We remain firmly in hard rock territory with 2017’s Black Ocean, returning us to “Stolen Hearts.” The song retains that narrative, storytelling feel with a crunching guitar sound. 

A roll of thunder takes us into “Waiting for the Daylight,” taken from the 2023 album of the same name, again with a heavier guitar sound live. This song lifts into a power chorus, blasting out the sound to the back row. Sometimes an acid test, for me, in reviewing a live album is whether there is a difference in the listening experience when tuning into the live version. Here, the tracks gain another layer of sound live, and the mix of the live tracks has certainly got it right. You are there on the front row. 

“Vāināmőinen Tuonelassa” challenged my spell checker as I was writing this up! It is  based on artwork by famous Finnish artist Pekka Halonen´s painting ‘Väinämöinen Tuonelassa.’ It is sung (I think) in Finnish, has a great riff and some wonderful melody, and lifts you up into the land of giants.

“Last Girl” is a song that spits more acid live than on the album “Waiting for Daylight,” where it was the second single released. Lyrically, the song takes us back to the school world of being bullied and feeling isolated and alone. On the video for this one, a young girl plays guitar and looks to have freedom she never had in the classroom. Erja attributes the current guitar’s generally heavier sound to modifications to her tools and collection of reliable axes. “Since my last live recording, my live guitar arsenal has grown quite a bit. I have five to six guitars, from Strats and Teles to custom-made guitars, on stage with me. It’s quite cool to dig out the different characteristics of each guitar. I’m using my road-worn Fender Custom Shop guitar on the songs Black Ocean and Never Really Had You. I had the guitar fine-tuned right before the tour and added it to my live arsenal. I feel as though it has been a sin to keep this Strat as my sofa guitar for years.”

“Never Really Had You” is a slower track from “Waiting for Daylight” that we always liked at the magazine for its heavy blues feel. When we asked her, Ejra commented, “There are many times in my songs when I have a feeling that I want to express myself out loud. This is about a love you cannot achieve. You know you love someone but cannot get there. You wanted it, but you tasted hell as the other person didn’t want you. Love songs are interesting as there are different approaches. There is the initial love where you are all “ooh,” and then there is the point of being in love, and then after the love come the other emotions.”

“You Talk Dirty” is my personal high point in the album; there is so much going on here. It’s an old fan favorite, and it really delivers newness all over in the live version. and remains a sleazy rocker that is designed to please. 

“Lover’s Novels” keeps up the pace with a strong beat and a pounding bass and drum rhythm that sounds great when turned up loud. 

“Wedding Day” is plenty of fun and plays with so much speed that you struggle to keep pace with it! I liked the rocking groove and was doing a punk pogo in the kitchen as it ran along in front of me!

“Crosstown Traffic” gives Erja a chance to show off some vocal dynamics; she has a great rocker’s voice! 

“The End of Music” from “Waiting for Daylight” closes the album off with a great blues guitar opening, and it again showcases just what a fine vocalist Erja is. What a strong way to end the show!

The album was released by Tuohi Records on Friday, October 6th

The release marks Erja Lyytinen’s fourth live album, and follows Songs from the Road, Live in London, and Lockdown Live. The new album is the first concert release from the gifted guitarist to capture the post-Covid live experience.

“Diamonds on the Road was recorded towards the end of our spring tour in March 2023,” says Erja. “We played ten shows in a row, of which eight sold out. The band had a good flow going, and the songs were rolling nicely.”

The evidence for this is clear; the music is loud and proud. 

Erja Lyytinen guitar, vocals

Harri Taittonen / Petri Rahikkala / Kasper Mårtenson keyboards

Tatu Back bass

Iiro Laitinen drums

Olli Huttunen sound engineer

Review by Stevie Ritson (loving it loud today)

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