Country has its new star, and everyone needs to get to know Lindi Ortega.
Last Gang Records, 2013
7.0 / 10
A storm has been brewing on the country horizon since 2011, and now it’s closer than ever to wreaking havoc. As an amateur weatherperson, despite having no college degree to back up my title, I feel that I must name this storm — Lindi Ortega. Since debuting in the country music scene with 2011’s Juno Award-nominated Little Red Boots, she’s followed that up with last year’s Polaris Prize long-listed Cigarettes and Truckstops and now this year’s soon-to-be nominated for something album, Tin Star. Originally hailing from Toronto, Ortega has since moved to Nashville, Tennessee (the adopted home of many musicians1) to immerse herself in the country music scene. However, she’s not into the glitz and glamour of country’s pop side (*cough* Taylor Swift *cough*), she’s old school, shit-kickin’ country mixed with a little Southern rock.
Sure, Lindi Ortega meets the standard country music requirements: twangy guitars, moody ballads, allusions to spiritual beings, but if all those things sound tired and dated. Well, she’s got a song about necrophilia too. Wait! What?! Yep, if you take her song, “Lived and Died Alone”, too literal, the song’s protagonist is robbin’ the grave of love2. In the song, Ortega’s character of a lonely woman is so lonely (how lonely is she?!) that she’s going to dig her up some companions (who died alone). Removing my forced necrophilia angle, she’s finding a kinship with individuals, who died without anyone in their lives. The song’s production is excellent, sounding like a dusty old recording that could be played for the final time.
Although “Lived and Died Alone” is slow and morose, it’s just a slight taste of what’s offered on Tin Star. Lindi switches up her style frequently whether they’re acoustic-driven devastators or good ole fashioned barn burners. It’s on these barn burners where she exudes a smoky sauciness. Take a look at that cover art — good looks and an attitude to keep you on your toes; she’s the full package. But before you start reaching to cop a feel at a live show, be forewarned that you might end up with a red boot in your ass. She doesn’t put up with buffoons, especially ones trying to run her out of Nashville as heard on the raging “All These Cats”, where she sings, “All these cats keep starin’ me down/ Try to run my ass outta this town/ I ain’t gonna stop, ain’t gonna listen/ Just gonna to continue on my mission”. After hearing Tin Star, I’d say ‘mission accomplished’, Ms. Ortega. Country has its new star, and everyone needs to get to know her.
“All These Cats”
“Lived And Died Alone”
“This Is Not Surreal”
1. Jack White is an ambassador of the city.
2. Usually someone robs the cradle of love (meaning a younger person), not one already at the end of his/her life!