Finnish slide queen Erja Lyytinen on her Hendrix and Santana faves and blazing live workouts…
The first song I learnt to play… Scarborough Fair - Simon & Garfunkel
“I had my first guitar lessons when I was around 13 at this centre for teenagers. I had a few lessons but then the teacher quit so I just taught myself for the next year or so. But, that teacher taught me a couple of songs, the first of which was Scarborough Fair by Simon and Garfunkel.
“That’s not the easiest song but it is a beautiful song. I was using my first open position chords, the fire camp chords as we call them in Finland. I visited Scarborough on my first UK tour and thought that the song describes the place really well.”
The song I covered with my first band… Samba Pa Ti - Santana
“I joined my mother and father’s band when I was 15. I played Santana’s stuff and I loved it. I played Samba Pa Ti at shows. I was only 15, it’s amazing to think back at that.”
The riff that I wish I had written… Money For Nothing - Dire Straits
“Just recently my friend was playing Money For Nothing, that is such a simple riff but it really works. That is a great riff. I love Brilliant Room by Eric Johnson as well, I love the whole song, not just a riff.
“That has an unbelievable guitar part and there is a lot of hope in that song. Numb by Gary Clark Jr is another fantastic riff, it shows how a slow, heavy groove can really work. The Sky Is Crying by Elmore James is another that I wish I had written.”
The song that I would love to cover… Crosstown Traffic - The Jimi Hendrix Experience
“There are a lot of songs I’d love to cover. I have recently been asked to play at a Jimi Hendrix tribute show, so I will be covering some Jimi songs. I’ve heard those songs so many times, but sometimes there are songs that you love but don’t want to touch. But, I am looking forward to covering Crosstown Traffic for this show.”
The solo that I love… Little Shoes - Mike Stern
“Mike Stern is one of my guitar heroes. I love Little Shoes, it has a great melody and solo. I love the way that he can play blues, although he is more of a fusion jazz guitarist. I love that he can really shred. In this song he starts the solo with easy going blues licks and then kills it and goes back to this beautiful melody.”
The song I would play someone who had never heard my music before… 24 Angels - Erja Lyytinen
“In my career I have managed to make many different-sounding albums. I’ve had blues, pop, jazz, slide shredding and now my new album [Stolen Hearts] is more rocky. I would play someone something slide-y as that is the style I am most known for.
“24 Angels is a good choice. An early teacher of mine showed me some slide, he wasn’t a slide player but he showed me the essentials like how to hold it and I learned the technique little by little. After a couple of lessons I was on my own and taught myself.”
The most challenging of my own songs to play… Black Ocean - Erja Lyytinen
“This is a very long song, it’s from my new album and it is seven minutes long. The vocal parts are maybe three minutes of the song and there’s a lot of guitar in it. There are different sections in the solo and I didn’t want to cut it up and take any parts out in the mix. There’s no space for any improvisation live with it. It is very challenging but it is also a lot of fun.”
Erja’s new album, ‘Stolen Hearts’ is out now on Tuohi Records.