Toronto may be a long way from the Tees Valley area, but that didn't stop Canadian blues/rock outfit Bywater Call from making the long trek across the Atlantic to play at Steelies in Hartlepool for the second time this year on Sunday evening.

Bywater Call were the opening act for US rockers Robert Jon and the Wreck's at their sold-out show in the same room earlier this year. Only on that occasion the band performed in a somewhat truncated fashion, as a stripped-back duo, but this time around, the rising stars of the scene returned with a full seven-piece band and as headliners in their own right.

Earlier this summer Bywater Call were invited to perform on Joe Bonamassa's Keeping the Blues Alive at Sea cruise around the Mediterranean. A high-profile invitation indeed, especially coming from the guitar supremo himself.

A strong crowd was in attendance to witness Bywater Call's return to Hartlepool. Sunday's show was the group's second date in the North East this weekend, following on from a concert at The Cluny in Newcastle on Friday evening. The pair of shows in our region were punctuated only by a date in Edinburgh on Saturday night.

Following a wonderful acoustic blues set from Newcastle-based guitar virtuoso Paul Rose, it was time for the Canadian ensemble to take to the stage. From the opening notes of Bring It Back, the audience was spellbound.

A soulful rendition of Sign of Peace took the Hartlepool audience to church. But who knew Church was this late on a Sunday? Meghan Parnell's soaring vocals are in a league of their own. The band put their spin on Stephen Still's classic Love The One You're With.

One thing which separates Bywater Call from the rest is their ability to jam. In that respect, the songs when performed live take a life of their own. Guitarist Dave Barnes' incendiary slide guitar play lit up the stage all night long. Whilst the addition of horns, saxophone, and keys adds a wonderful texture to the band's repertoire.

Several songs into the set, the Ontario-based outfit had the room singing along during an uplifting airing of Silver Lining. Barnes made his guitar quite literally sing like a bird during a spellbinding performance of Sweet Maria. With a tambourine on her arm, Meghan engaged the audience with some call and response, and the crowd didn't have to be asked twice. Of course, each song in the set was greeted with rapturous applause.

The Hartlepool fans received a rare treat when the band premiered their funky new composition Turn It Around, and it did not disappoint.

The uber-talented seven-piece closed out their main set by putting their stamp on a cover of The Weight by The Band before the night ended with encore number Left Behind.

Bywater Call's appearance in Hartlepool on Sunday evening was as sweet as Canadian Maple Syrup.