Rockbrat Wonders: Is Orianthi the greatest guitarist alive today ?

ImageWhat is there left to say about Orianthi ? Every superlative to describe her ability and talent has been written. I watch some of her performances online and they often leave me speechless. Last year, Australian Guitar Magazine offered up their ‘Definitive Top Ten Australian Guitarists of All Time’ list. Having been a rock fanatic my whole life – monsieur Rockbrat is more than qualified to offer my thoughts on this ‘definitive’ gathering of six-string slingers. Angus is at #1 and deservedly so – he has his own style and sound. No argument there folks – and there are some other amazing players is their top ten as well, such as Tommy Emmanuel, Mossy, the great Rick Brewster, the Iceman, and Lobby Lloyde. The fact that Orianthi has already established herself on the world stage – is spoken about in the same breath as Hendrix and admired by the likes of Carlos Santana and Steve Vai – yet cannot make an irrelevant list like this ! Now that is funny and downright embarrassing – especially for a couple of the people on that list. How can you look me in the eye and tell me that that card-board cut-out ‘punk’ from the Living End (who shamelessly aped the Clash and others before him) – is superior to Orianthi ? Gimme a break. Or Ross Hannaford from Daddy Cool being named above her ! Now that is amusing. That geeky fossil may’ve blown the doped-out minds of surfies back in 1971, but really – just how influential was he ? Exactly. Whatever she shoulda been on that list, but I couldn’t really care – and I bet the humble Orianthi couldn’t either. Those in the know, can recognize just how special she really is. I am not going to give you the complete history – but her first gig was as a 15 year old supporting Steve Vai in Adelaide – who clearly knew that he was witnessing a once-in-a-generation guitar player – and it all started from there. Make sure you view her 2009 Grammy Awards performance – where she performed as part of Carrie Underwood’s band. If you can ignore the cliched, long-legged nonsense which Underwood carries on with – and close your eyes and listen, you will get what I am saying. The licks she lays down during those four short minutes would make Hendrix and Clapton jump in fright. She simply smokes, and without even trying – steals the show. Although landing the gig as Michael Jackson’s guitar player not long before – Orianthi, at that time was still relatively unknown. In my opinion, this was the performance which made many people sit up and take note….including me. I knew of her as the ‘Australian guitar player who landed the gig with Michael Jackson’, but shame on me for not discovering her earlier. So again, go to that Awards performance – close your eyes and listen to her playing – listen to what is actually going on along her fretboard. The feel, flair and natural ability which she possesses cannot be rehearsed and it cannot be taught. It is a gift. An instinct. Orianthi is a visionary who has magic flowing through her fingers. Fellow-femme players like Bonnie Raitt and Lita Ford (whom I adore) – do not receive the accolades which Orianthi has received. But being female does not enter the equation – her gender and looks are indeed irrelevant – you need to look further my friends. look and listen with your ears. When you have so many young women artists nowadays all vying to be the next Kelly Clarkson or discovered on one of the many ‘talent’ programs – it’s refreshing that the ass-kicking Orianthi is around. Let me ask you this – is she the greatest guitar player since Hendrix ? – Hmmm – that’s a big call – but in time, you will add her name to Beck, Hendrix, Rhoads, Clapton, Ray Vaughan, Santana and the like. That I can assure you. Until then friends, be in no doubt – Orianthi is the greatest guitar player alive today….

Orianthi stealing Carrie Underwood’s thunder with amazing fretwork


8 thoughts on “Rockbrat Wonders: Is Orianthi the greatest guitarist alive today ?

  1. Hey Rockbrat,
    Now you’re talking brother!! Orianthi has been on my radar since her performance with Carrie Underwood. Talk about overshadowing somebody…LOL!! Orianthi is called one of the best female guitarists of our time. ORIANTHI IS THE BEST GUITARISTS OF OUR TIME…PERIOD!! Furthermore that girl can sing her a** off too!! Oh and did I mention she is drop dead gorgeous. I’m a huge Hendrix fan, but Orianthi’s playing is far more advanced and cleaner. She is a phenomenon!! This girl is going to go far and her place in musical history is most definitely assured. Another fantastic article my friend!! Keep on rockin’!!
    a.k.a. Bikerman

    1. Hey thanks man. She is a breath of fresh air in rock n roll. I think she plays Hendrix better than most. She is very humble and appears to be grounded. Rock on Orianthi !

  2. Hey Rockbrat,
    I’ve been trying to hit my “like” button, but I can’t find my password…LOL!! Rest assured that I have liked every article you have done. Keep on rockin’ brother!!
    David a.k.a. Bikerman

  3. Hey Rockbrat,
    As you mentioned in your article, Orianthi is playing for Alice Cooper now. I am proud to be able to say that I was a temporary bodyguard for Alice Cooper back in “85. He is a great guy and nothing like his stage persona. He does a lot for charity. In fact he is The Phoenix Zoo’s largest supporter. He will do right by Orianthi, you can bet on it. I thought you might get a kick out of that little tidbit of info. Rock on brother!!

  4. Some big statements here Mr. Rockbrat – Sheesh, I dunno. She is good – no doubt, but the greatest guitar player alive today ? Leave you speechless ? Really ? That good ? That different from anyone else ? She can shred – no doubt. But if she looked like Mamma Cass, would she have garnered all the attention ? Of course not. She shreds – AND she looks like a Centrefold . Hence the interest – and no, I’m not denegrading her performance, but she has the look and chops right, that’s what the A&R guys like. There have been plenty of iconic, great, original and interesting guitar players to come from the Antipodes – yet as far as musicianship, you’d be hard pressed to surpass either Phil or Tommy Emmanuel – of whom Eric Clapton once said, “He’s the best guitarist I’ve ever seen”. Speechless ? I’ve seen both Emmanuel’s do things that left me speechless.

    1. No Cowboy Col, you are missing the point. You need to listen again. She is more than a shredder. I mean even the Great Kat could shred, right. There is so much more to her playing – and the big single she had ‘According To You’ does not highlight her talent. Orianthi’s time is now – and she is the greatest player around today, regardless of her looks….Anyone ever heard of Phil Emanual outside of Australia ? (silence) I am not here to denounce other players – I like the Emmanuals, and I can respect Satriani, Vai, McAlpine etc etc – but Orianthi is easily on par with those guys – and in fact – has put lead guitar playing back in the public eye. The centrefold comment made Mr Rockbrat laugh – and nearly made me take away your admin access (!). Cos, when I watch Orianthi with Carrie Underwood – standing next to eachother – (no disrespect to Underwood whom I know nothing about) – you actually witness an extremely gifted musician, next to a limited pop princess. All the leggy and salon-tanned Underwood can do is awkwardly dance and grin next to Orianthi – and the comparison was pretty obvious. Orianthi was not found by A&R guys either – it was via Steve Vai. Mr Rockbrat is not often wrong – and guess what – time will prove me correct.

    1. Oh great – a Malmsteen devotee – I was wondering how long it would take before one of his followers found my post. His giant ego is something Orianthi seems not to have – and how refreshing is that !? I am not going to waste time debating my opinion with you.You dig Yngwie ? Cool. I bought his debut LP, and also had records from Alcatrazz, Steeler etc. But when me and the Cowboy saw him live in – what 1990 ? he was as boring as bat shit. We walked out on him. We also walked out on Steve Lukather. Many people have left Crapton gigs early. Go watch the Orianthi clip from Summersonic Japan show which I linked to – where she plays Jimi better than Jimi – NO ONE is leaving. She is up on that big stage alone and letting her music do the talking. Tell Yngwie I said hi.

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