"Open C Tuning With a Slide Gives It a Whole New Approach": Watch Blues Rocker Erja Lyytinen’s Up-Tempo Live Rendition of Jimi Hendrix’s “Crosstown Traffic”

Erja Lyytinen
(Image credit: Elsa Wellamo)

Acclaimed Finnish guitarist Erja Lyytinen has released the second single – a cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Crosstown Traffic” – from her new live album, Diamonds on the Road – Live 2023. Available on double CD, vinyl and digital formats, the blues-rock sensation’s fourth live record is due to appear on October 6 via Tuohi Records.

As per the album’s lead single, “You Talk Dirty,” unveiled last month, this live rendition of “Crosstown Traffic” is accompanied by a performance video recorded and filmed in Finland earlier this year during Lyytinen’s spring tour.

The guitarist’s forthcoming double LP, Diamonds on the Road – Live 2023, follows up Songs from the Road, Live in London, and Lockdown Live, and is her first to capture the post-Covid live experience. “My sound has changed since the last live recording,” she says. “My playing has more of a hard-rock element and edge.”

As can be seen in the “Crosstown Traffic” live video, Lyytinen has an extensive array of electric guitars on hand to help fulfil her hard-rock vision. “Since my last live recording, my live guitar arsenal has grown quite a bit,” she points out. “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!”

Erja Lyytinen

(Image credit: Elsa Wellamo)

Speaking of Stratocaster players, Lyytinen says, “There is only one Hendrix, there´s no way you can replicate Jimi, and that’s why I wanted to perform my own take on ‘Crosstown Traffic.’”

So how did she attempt to bring this 1968 Hendrix classic into the 21st century? “Our version is slightly faster than Jimi´s,” highlights Lyytinen, “and I´m also playing the song in open C tuning with a slide and that gives it a whole new approach.

“The song is a lot of fun to play live, it´s energetic and I just love the lyrics! There are plenty of metaphors and sexual references, all cleverly delivered by describing a traffic jam, which alludes to how a relationship has come to its end. I´m using a kazoo in the ending riff of the song, as Hendrix did use a comb and cellophane to create the sound of traffic.

“The result is a fun and cool live track with some interesting turnouts in the arrangement!”

Order Erja Lyytinen’s Diamonds on the Road – Live 2023 here.    

Rod Brakes

Rod Brakes is a music journalist with an expertise in guitars. Having spent many years at the coalface as a guitar dealer and tech, Rod's more recent work as a writer covering artists, industry pros and gear includes contributions for leading publications and websites such as GuitaristTotal Guitar, Guitar WorldGuitar Player and MusicRadar in addition to specialist music books, blogs and social media. He is also a lifelong musician.