Sjak : Richie Sambora is of course especially known as the ex-guitarist of the hit machine Bon Jovi, but also as a solo artist he has delivered a number of outstanding, blues influenced, rock albums in the shape of ‘Stranger In This Time’ (from 1991), ‘Undiscovered Soul’ (from 1998) and ‘Aftermath Of The Lowdown’ (from 2012). Why this story about Richie Sambora? Well, he’s the RS from the band name RSO. The O then stands for female singer and guitar player Orianthi, who has already shared the stage with stars like Michael Jackson, Prince and ZZ Top and who nowadays is not only the musical partner of Richie Sambora, but also his life companion and soul-mate that has helped him through the by the media extensively described difficult period of his life.
‘Radio Free America’ is the first result of their musical collaboration under the RSO monicker and immediately it has to be said that this album is absolutely not suited for the majority of the Lords Of Metal readers, as the fifteen songs on offer here can’t really be categorized as hard rock. The duo is going much more in a pop(rock) direction, with the necessary country and blues influences and not many of the people that visit our website will get a very warm feeling from this. On top of that the quality level of the fifteen tracks is quite varied and good tunes are alternated with very mediocre songs.
The album starts off very slowly, because both ‘Making History’ as well as ‘We Are Magic’ are not really spectacular pop songs and therefore fail to make a big impression. Because of the fact that this also accounts for a number of other tunes on the record (with as an all time low the very superfluous Sonny & Cher cover ‘I Got You Babe’), it seems that the collaboration between Richie Sambora and Orianthi can’t really be regarded as a very successful one, but there are also a couple of tracks that prove the exact opposite. As such the by Orianthi sung ‘Walk With Me’ is a very beautiful country-like song, while also the great ‘Forever All The Way’ and the bluesy ‘Blues Won’t Leavy Me Alone’ show that RSO definitely has something to offer. Also the closing Savoy Brown cover ‘Hellbound Train’ is quite to my liking, but as a whole RSO just doesn’t offer enough, especially when taking the background of both artists into account.
Maybe my personal expectations were somewhat too high, but ‘Radio Free America’ has definitely not become the album that I had hoped for. Besides a few very good tracks, the album contains too many average pop tunes, which are all very easy to listen to, but which also don’t really add anything to the genre. If you want to hear what Richie Sambora is capable of, I would advise you to try out the truly fabulous ‘Stranger In This Time’ record, because that one is absolutely superior in comparison with this first RSO release ‘Radio Free America’.