Guitarist is in the studio with Richie Sambora
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Guitarist is in the studio with Richie Sambora

The acclaimed guitarist Orianthi has been working with Richie Sambora for nearly two years on a new album, which is expected to be released early next year.

“When you have been in that routine of playing every night you get very comfortable, but it’s that rash of having not played for quite some time and getting up there, it’s a new energy that you fall into and you play differently. I like it when you leave the guitar for a little bit or leave the stage for a little bit … you come up with different things soloing.”

Orianthi and Sambora, who are reportedly dating, were introduced by Alice Cooper, who she had toured with for four years, in Maui when Cooper was hosting a charity benefit.

“Richie showed up at the last minute with his family and we jammed with Steven Tyler, Michael McDonald was there, Weird Al, the Doobie Brothers, everyone just jammed their asses off for a few hours,” she said. “We ended up rocking out. From there, Richie called me, ‘You should come out, we should jam.’”

Orianthi called Sambora, who spent years making hits with Jon Bon Jovi, an “incredible all-around entertainer.”

“We’re combining our styles together to rock out and have a good time,” she said.

Orianthi (born Orianthi Panagaris in Adelaide, Australia) drew inspiration from her Greek father who played in a band. So by the time she was 6 years old, she had already picked up a guitar and then studied classical guitar at 10 years old. When Orianthi saw Carlos Santana at 11 years old, she became hooked by the electric guitar. She joined a cover band at 15 and started playing regular gigs. She also performed her first show for guitar legend Steve Vai when she was 15 and later opened for him. A few years later, Santana came back to town. According to her bio, Santana’s brother set up a sound check jam, which led to her playing with her idol for more than 30 minutes in her hometown. Orianthi eventually moved to America when she was 21.

Her latest solo album, “Heaven In This Hell” was released on Manhattan Beach resident Rob Christie’s label Robo Records, and it was recorded in Nashville and produced by Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics.

Orianthi left Alice Cooper’s band over a year ago, but she joined him to record two songs on the new record by Hollywood Vampires – a super group that was also formed by Cooper, Johnny Depp and Joe Perry of Aerosmith.