Orianthi & Richie get personal on new tunes

Australian singer-songwriter Orianthi says the music she's recording with Richie Sambora sounds like Jimi Hendrix and Fleetwood Mac – if they'd met in a country bar.

She’s on the road as a member of the estranged Bon Jovi guitarist’s solo band, but the pair have found time to lay down some studio tracks.

Speaking to Rock Radio NI just before she played The Ulster Hall in Belfast, she says: “I think there’s like a 12 or 13 minute version of Voodoo Child. We could just jam for about 30 minutes. It’s just so much fun. That’s what is missing in music these days, that freedom. I grew up listening to Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Carlos Santana and watching Woodstock.

“Watching those festivals where you didn’t have time to play 20 songs, everything like Stairway to Heaven went on forever, so orchestrators got big guitar parts soloed and everything. It’s more interesting. Music should get back to that.”

Sambora himself recently referred to the tracks as like “Fleetwood Mac on steroids” – a summary Orianthi is happy to agree with.

She says: “Yeah. I think Stevie Nicks is amazing, the harmonies and everything. And also a lot of songs I’ll be singing and a lot Richie will be singing and I’ll be backing him up singing harmonies and playing guitar.

“It’s got that kind of vibe to it. We have acoustic tracks and then others that are a bit Hendrix, kind of commercial and there’s a bit of country there too. It’s not too out of the box though.

“We’ve written 30-plus songs and they all go together. They don’t all sound the same, but they’ve got this thread to them. The dynamic between his playing and singing and mine, it’s just got this real soul to it that I really dig.”

With a tentative release date of before the new year, the album is hotly anticipated and something Orianthi says is stacked with personal tracks and moments.

She adds: “I love writing with him. He’s very much about the lyric. We’ll come up with a title or something in a conversation and jot it down – my phone is full of them and there are all these pads lying around the place.

“Then someone will come up with a riff and we’ll have that title and start writing a song. We’re really digging deep to get the right lyric, for it to be something that we are both really proud of, not just a throw away.

“Sometimes you write with people, and I’ve been on those writing trips where you write with a bunch of people and they don’t focus too much on it being personal. All the songs are really personal to us.”