Lena & the Slide Brothers – IV CD

Review by Cora Price, Fraser Valley Blues Society

My first taste of Lena & the Slide Brothers, after receiving their newly released CD IV, was a lovely surprise. The CD offers 10 original blues tunes from this Finnish band. The CD is produced by Hannu Leiden. 

The band formed in 2009 and this is their fourth release. They’ve been winning awards and ripping it up all over Finland, Sweden, Estonia & Italy but have yet to debut in North America. Hope they will find their way over the pond, sometime soon.

Lena Lindroos is the voice behind the band, but also plays bass, Hammond organ & piano.  Matti Kettunen offers up strong electric, acoustic and slide guitar, mandolin and percussion, as well as backup vocals. Juha Litmanen adds the drum line and Yka Putkinen rounds out the sound on electric and slide guitar.

Impressive backup vocals featured by Emilia Sisco & Maria Hanningen, combine with Lena’s, to create a full sound as demonstrated on track 1 – Your Kind of Woman, 3 – Not Your Fault and 8 – New Kind of Soldier.  Lena’s voice is sweet as honey. She has the lungs to belt it out, but also brings it down slow and easy, as heard on Blue Side of the Town. 

Harmonica, featured by Helge Taliqvist can be found on track # 7 – Late Night Watchdog Blues. There’s also Teijo Tikkanen on organ and piano on this CD.

The CD begins with a shuffle featuring great catchy slide guitar riffs on Your Kind of Woman. There’s a video release for this tune on UTube  (https://youtu.be/CdQxtRErvM8).

My favorite cut is 5 – Eldorado, which reminds me of Stevie Ray Vaughn’s style and had me moving and grooving as I listened.  Very catchy tune.

The cut, Not Your Fault, featuring Hannu Leiden on backup vocals, offers an interesting story of a Grandmother and boy, trying to make it, after fleeing their home on a train. The lyrics will speak to anyone who has been a refugee. The lament “It’s not your fault”, carries a strong message for all caught in the cycle of self-blame, when circumstance take us places we’d rather not be.  

Videos of the band, provide a glimpse of the fun they have while on stage. My impression is they would be wonderful to see live and up close. They enjoy their time together and love what they are doing.   

Overall, this well produced CD provides original tunes that are scrumptious and well written and the musicianship top notch. The compositions offer lyrics that catch you listening for the details, to really hear the words and understand the story behind them. The beat and rhythm makes the body move and the foot tap. Well done!

You can explore this band further by visiting their website: http://lenatheslidebrothers.com.