San Francisco Drive


Now that we have escaped from Hotel California let’s go on a San Francisco drive with Petteri Sariola. “Who’s that?”, you ask. Well I’d never heard of him either until Spotify dropped a track called The Clockwork into my Release Radar last week.

That track turned out to be an unbelievable guitar performance by Sariola from his fourth and latest album, Resolution. There’s too much going on for it to be a solo performance – low notes, fast licks, ringing harmonics and percussive beats – but it’s much too tight to be a band. In tone, the sound is neither nylon string acoustic nor solid body electric. Intrigued, Crotchety Man googled (small ‘g’ because the word is now an accepted part of the English language).

Petteri Sariola

Petteri Sariola, it turns out, is a Finnish guitarist, arranger and singer/songwriter. He plays an acoustic, steel-strung guitar fitted with a pickup. This allows him to play mainly by tapping the fretboard while his right hand taps the body of the instrument to provide his characteristic percussive style. This is up-beat classical guitar with funky overtones. And there’s not a lot of that about.

There are several tracks on the Resolution album worthy of a Track of the Week slot, including The Clockwork and Good Friend, but I’ve chosen San Francisco Drive because that is also a great track and there’s a YouTube video that shows off Sariola’s technique pretty well.

Impressive, isn’t it? More like a Chapman Stick than a guitar. As one reviewer remarked,

”There are many ways to play guitar nowadays, still you will be amazed by the way Petteri Sariola plays his instruments.” – Latina Magazine / Japan

Take a bow Petteri, you have earned it.

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