Discovering an artist that’s put a few albums out already is wonderful. Not only do you get a great album up front to listen to, you can go back and plunder the back catalog. It’s a bit of a drag for the artist who could have logged some sales ages ago, but better late than never. Such is the case with Canadian singer/songwriter Lindi Ortega.
The Toronto native started on the same label that helped launch the career of fellow Canuck LIGHTS. Ortega is still with the label but has since relocated to Nashville, which seems to be a better for her musical sensibilities.
NPR says she’s a Goth looking woman who sings country, which is not entirely accurate. If she’s Goth, Johnny Cash is Bela Lugosi. To put it another way, if you were casting a modern Western, Ortega could be your hero. Speaking of which, musically she’s as much Western as she is Country. As the lady at Bob’s Country Bunker in the Blues Brothers might say “she plays both kinds: Country and Western.”
Her style has been described as Alternative Country, which is pretty apt, but that may just mean it’s not that rubbishy pop/country that true fans of Country music don’t really care for. To add to her indie cred (she was widely known around Toronto as Indie Lindi) she toured as a backup singer for Brandon Flowers of The Killers on his Flamingo solo tour a few years back.
On Faded Gloryville, she offers songs that reflect on sacrifice, faith, and of course, love. There’s a little rock-a-billy with “Run Amuck,” great fun that one, and a cover of the Bee Gees “To Love Somebody.” Her storytelling skills shine on “Run Down Neighborhood,” a bouncy story about a co-dependent couple who may not be good for each other, but have fun nonetheless. So will the listener. “I Ain’t the Girl,” is a bit of a heartbreaker, but not in the way you might think. In a pretty bouncy song, the lovely Ms. Ortega tells a potential suitor that she’s just not right for him, never will be, and he needs to move on. Bummer dude.
Vocally it’s more Nashville than Bakersfield, but those influences aren’t mutually exclusive of course. Like another artist that has ties to Bakersfield, Dwight Yoakam, Ortega certainly has appeal beyond the country music scene and musically at least, is the girl you’re looking for.
10 Maple Leafs out of 10
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PF Wilson has been writing about music, TV, radio, and movies for over 20 years. He has also written about sports, business, and politics with his work appearing in Cincinnati CityBeat, The Houston Press, Cleveland Scene, Cincinnati Magazine, Cincy Magazine, Atomic Ranch, and many more. Check out his podcast PF’s Tape Recorder available from Podbean or in iTunes.