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Radio Free America: RSO (Richie Sambora + Orianthi) - Album Review

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by Steven G (subscribe)
Too much tertiary education... Former performer/wrestler...Former teacher... Scientist... Published author... Father... Want to be a writer if I grow up...
Published July 28th 2018
When guitarists in love record an album
Adelaide's own Orianthi Panagaris and her paramour, former Bon Jovi lead guitarist (and part of one of the more successful song-writing teams of the 80s and 90s) Richie Sambora have taken four years to produce their debut "together" album after a couple of EPs.

Was it worth the wait for Radio Free America?

RSO, richie sambora, orianthi, radio free america, album, music, rock
Remember this cover...


Oh, yes. Yes. Yes, yes, yes. A thousand times yes. One of the best rock and roll albums in years. Real rock, with melody and blistering guitar work. This is not a Richie Sambora solo album with a guest guitarist; this is not an Orianthi solo album with a famous guest artist. This is a true collaboration, two artists working together, writing together, playing all the instruments, and doing it brilliantly.
orianthi, guitar, music, rock, album, RSO
Richie Sambora (check first!)

Richie Sambora, rock, music, album, RSO
Orianthi (no, seriously, check first...)


Opening with Making History this is a statement. It's a statement about their personal lives and about their musical lives. The double-barrelled guitar attack is amazing, their voices complement each other and the whole is a perfect meshing.

Wow, I'm gushing quite a bit, huh? Well, this is just a fantastic album. It's not all balls-to-the-wall rock. There's a variety of styles and call-backs to some of Sambora's early Bon Jovi times (the talk box in We Are Magic, for example) and their influences also poke their heads in to say hello.

Other highlights include:

Take Me, more laid-back with a modern drum sound that fits in well with the mood of the song.

Masterpiece is one of those soaring chorus songs Bon Jovi did so well, made that little bit more amazing with the voices swapping for the verses.

I Don't Want To Have To Need You Now is a song that I, personally, just really enjoyed. Can't put my finger on why I just did.

Truth is the sort of power ballad they just don't do well any more. Until now.

Good Times has a country twang about it and it has a slightly nasty vibe to its lyrics; if they break up and release an album together afterwards, it is going to be awesomely nasty, judging by this.

I was ready to hate the cover of I Got You Babe, the old Sonny and Cher classic. But they reinterpret it to be their own and, damn, if it isn't a good cover version.

Not every time does a love affair result in great art Burton and Taylor's disaster that was Cleopatra is a fine example but in this case it works. Not a bad song on an album how often can we say that?

I'm gushing. I'm in my forties and I'm gushing over an album. This is great. To quote Ian 'Molly' Meldrum "Do yourself a favour." Seriously.

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Why? A collaboration between two great artists
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