Well have you? I hadn’t until November last year when I read a review of her latest album, “Tin Star”, in the Guardian, by Michael Hann, a music journalist whose views I respect. He gave it four stars and made it sound interesting. Young, acerbic take on country, he said. I gave it a try on Spotify and fell in love immediately with the title track. My first reaction was that this was a singer who had an affinity with Bruce Springsteen. Sad but defiant. Simple chords but aching with emotion. I tried YouTube and found this video. there’s an official video too, but I love this one.
I bought the album and put on my iPod on shuffle. The songs are rooted in conventional country, a few ballads, some faster ones, some rock’n’roll. Beautifully played, with a twang and echo. The lyrics have an edge, and Lindi’s singing… well, I have rarely heard better. The classic combination: vulnerable, feisty, tender, achingly sad at times, defiant and challenging at others. Such a range. I’m no expert in Country, but there’s undoubtedly a bit of Dolly Parton in there, and I detected an element of Alison Krauss too. But everyone has influences. Lindi’s voice is distinctive, her own, the best I have heard for some time.
She is Canadian, from Toronto, with Mexican and Irish heritage, and is now based in Nashville. Where else, really?
Listen to “This Is Not Surreal”, also from “Tin Star”. How good is this?
I’ve tried a few other artists who came top of the country and Americana lists for 2013. The likes of Jason Isbell with “Southeastern”, Kacey Musgraves with “Same Trailer, Different Park”, Caitlin Rose with “The Stand In”. Excellent albums, all. But something about Lindi Ortega is better than all of them. She has an edge, and vulnerability, fighting for supremacy. Real life. And an absolutely beauty in the songs. I bought her two previous albums, “Cigarettes and Truckstops” and “Little Red Boots” and put them together with “Tin Star”, so I could listen to them all on shuffle. It’s a joy. So many wonderful songs.
My new favourite.
Here’s the title track from “Cigarettes and Truckstops”, Lindi’s first album. There’s a definite hint of “Good Year For The Roses”, which I know from Elvis Costello. But that’s OK, more than OK.
And from “Little Red Boots”, the wonderful “Where The Stars Align”.
The other great thing Lindi does brilliantly is covers. That Bruce connection which I felt was confirmed by the existence of “I’m On Fire” on “Little Red Boots”.
The Dolly Parton influence is met head on with this version of “Jolene”.
I mean, how beautiful is this?
Lindi is playing in London on 30 January at the Garage, Islington. It had been scheduled for the Borderline in Soho, but has been moved because of the demand for tickets.
I’ve got mine. Can’t wait!. There will be a blog….