A RISING blues star from the Wee County this month had the chance to support Finland's “Queen of the Slide Guitar” at a gig.

Alloa man Iain Donald, who performs delta blues on stage as The Gator, this April had the chance to support Finish artist Erja Lyytinen in what was a brilliant show for Edinburgh Blues Club at The Voodoo Rooms.

Impressive Lyytinen, who was voted The Best Guitarist of the Year at the 2017 European Blues Awards, is widely recognised as one of the best blues rock guitarists in the world and once jammed with Carlos Santana in front of 20,000 people.

The gig on April 6 was a chance for Iain to showcase his talents, playing the opening slot for the night.

The Gator told the Advertiser: “It was brilliant – the hard work is starting to pay off.

Alloa and Hillfoots Advertiser: BREATHING THE BLUES: The Gator was on stage to open the night ahead of Finland's Erja LyytinenBREATHING THE BLUES: The Gator was on stage to open the night ahead of Finland's Erja Lyytinen (Image: Colin Robertson)

“It's good to know that someone from the Forth Valley is doing the blues, it's quite a rewarding feeling.”

The show was a big deal for Iain, a former butcher who turned guitarist and tutor to follow his dreams.

According to a review by Iain McArhur for Rockfiend, The Gator covered up his nerves with some “amusing and self-deprecating Clackmannanshire humour”.

However, there was no need for concern as “he is a very proficient guitar player indeed and that, alongside his smoky bourbon voice, makes him a very authentic blues troubadour”.

A particular highlight saw The Gator switch from acoustic to the electric guitar, pulling out his slide with one of his pieces, Dunoon Boat Song, striking a chord with the audience.

The review by McArthur concluded: “This dude really knows his blues.”

The Gator added: “It was fantastic, it was as sold-out show at The Voodoo Rooms and I just thought it was am amazing opportunity.

“I'm coming into my own, I've got a lot of stuff coming up this year.”

Indeed, The Gator had been fundraising to perform at the Alice Mae Festival, along with partner Fiona 'Gaulty' Gault, after hill country blues music legend Garry Burnside heard him play.

It is understood, due to personal reasons, this has been rescheduled for October 2024.

And speaking of Dunoon Boat Song, which proved a hit in Edinburgh and which was written on the ferry while Iain was going to meet his partner Fiona, he added: “I'm releasing a new version of my debut single featuring Gaulty.”

Known as 'Scotland's Bluesome Twosome' the duo presents the best of blues in a regular podcast – find Gaulty and The Gator on social media for more.