Orianthi's 10 blues heroes
“I’m a huge fan of the blues," Orianthi tells MusicRadar. "That is the whole reason why I play guitar.”
The guitar goddess has just got off stage after a stunning set alongside Richie Sambora. It was a performance that perfectly illustrated the Aussie guitarist’s love for the blues. She may be chugging through Bon Jovi hits up there, but she does so with the feel and tone of an veteran blues master.
As she turns to the subject of her ultimate blues heroes, Orianthi continues: “BB King, Freddie King, Albert King, all the Kings and then Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, Gary Moore, Johnny Winter – there are so many.
"You listen to all of these players and you are just inspired. Music is not a sport - one is not better than the other. You just like what you like and get inspired.”
And it seems that there were plenty of blues icons that inspired Orianthi as she was coming up. So much so that she was off and running as soon as we asked her to name her top blues heroes...
"I got to play with Buddy Guy at the end of last year. I did the Kennedy Honors with Santana, and Buddy Guy walked in the room.
"I don’t get starstruck often because I meet so many amazing people, but with Buddy Guy... He’s on the same level as Hendrix to me. I mean, what should I say to him?
"He started playing, and the attack he had coming out of his amplifier was like these wild cats bursting out of there or something. He plays like he means it and sings like there is this blues soul just coming out. He can capture you with just one note."
"I love the way that he bends. Stevie Ray learned from Albert King, so when they did the sessions thing together it was kind of like a teacher and student kind of thing.
"It was like friends playing together. That was really special, [and] I love listening to that."
"I played the Crossroad Festival in 2007, and BB King was playing the main stage.
"I was right at the back. He juts hit one note and it's BB King – it's undeniable. So many great players could play through his rig with his guitar, and they still would not sound like BB. It’s his fingerprint. His tone is incredible."
Stevie Ray Vaughan
"Stevie Ray played with so much intensity. Every time he went out there and performed a solo it was like he was proving himself.
"His playing was like fire – it was so inspiring. If you want to get energy before playing a show or if you want to get inspired, then you should go listen to Live At The El Mocambo by Stevie Ray. He comes out there like a fireball. He was so inspiring. I wish he was still around today.
"Robert Knight is a friend of mine – he's this amazing photographer who took one of the last shots of Stevie. I have that up on my wall, where my recording gear is. It’s this huge picture, and it’s like his aura is coming through. There is something about Stevie that is just different from everyone else."
"Still Got The Blues is one of my favourite songs. His notes, he just holds them out – the sustain is amazing.
"He was an incredible player and singer. I never got to meet him. I wish that I had because he was very inspiring. Parisienne Walkways was a great song as well. He had so many. I’m so happy that I discovered Gary Moore. He could do rock and he could do blues. He was a very diverse player, and he could just do it all."
Peter Green is another great player. Look at a song like Albatross. My dad is a huge Peter Green fan, so he would be playing his records all of the time.
"He was a very eccentric player. The way he played was great. He was really memorable with his solos, and he meant every note. I think that was what captured me about his playing."
"I’m a huge Hendrix fan. He played with so many colours.
"My favourite recordings of Hendrix are the live tapes. You can get so inspired listening to him. He’s not afraid. There is no fear at all in Hendrix’s playing – he is just free.
"You want that when you’re playing live.You want to get to that point where you’re just transcending. Hendrix did that all of the time. He was just incredible, and he changed the way that people played the guitar."
"I swear that he is an alien. There is something about his phrasing that is so unpredictable and cool.
"It makes you wonder where it came from. I wish I could play like that. I listen to Jeff Beck and think, ‘Bloody hell!’ The way that Jeff Beck and his band play together is just amazing. Yeah, those guys definitely come from another planet."
"What an amazing player. He has captured Gary Moore and Eric Johnson, but he still has his own thing going on.
"Joe is the guitar hero of today. A lot of people, myself included, are big fans of his playing. His phrasing is amazing: He's both technically proficient and very free.
"He is structured, but then he can go off and solo until the cows come home. Everyone knows who Joe Bonamassa is."
"My dad is a guitar player with huge vinyl record collection. I loved listening to his albums, especially Cream and The Yardbirds. Eric Clapton was such a great player.
"He sounds like he’s Freddie King or someone like that. He plays the roots of blues and Delta blues. He really affected me with the way that he plays, because he never really plays that many notes. I saw him play recently at the Gibson Amphitheatre in LA, and it was so good. He’s a great songwriter too."