Release Date: Oct 8, 2013
Record label: Last Gang Records
Nashville is brimming with young female artists offering a refreshingly acerbic take on country. Lindi Ortega – a Canadian relocated to Tennessee – deserves to be counted among them, with what sounds like it could be a breakthrough set. The title track, more or less a country ballad take on the hard-slog-of-rubbish-gigs detailed by AC/DC on It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock'n'Roll), establishes her bona fides, but there's a vivacity across Tin Star that makes her sound anything but a struggler.
Anyone looking to write a biography about spirited Nashville by way of Toronto country singer Lindi Ortega won’t have to do much research. All they have to do is spin “Gypsy Child,” from this her third album, to learn her life story in a brisk two minutes and thirty seconds. “I’ll be singing ‘til my dying day,” she exclaims over a double time, near rockabilly beat with twangy lead guitar and enough attitude to make it clear she’s not kidding.
It's always been easy for young country artists to have failed romances with Nashville. But for Toronto, ON-born Lindi Ortega, her time in Music City so far has been a match made in honky tonk heaven. Tin Angel is Ortega's third album, and her most accomplished yet, in terms of bridging the country and punk divide. Ortega's natural appeal to both camps stems from an undeniably powerful voice and the rough-edged, old school twang in her songs.
Song titles like “Gypsy Child”, “Lived and Died Alone”, and “Waitin’ On My Luck To Change” already meant that Tin Star was only ever going to be a country album, however the press or PR companies might want to spin it. Toronto-born, Music City-moulded Lindi Ortega has spent a lot of time being compared to Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton, a gracious commendation that nonetheless probably suggests a lack of imagination on the part of her reviewers. Her previous two albums have both been longlisted for Canada’s Polaris Prize – her last, Cigarettes and Truckstops, just this past July- and still she haunts the fringes of mainstream success, a smouldering spectre in her titular little red boots.
Gypsy Child, off of Lindi Ortega's third album, sounds like an homage to Loretta Lynn. Except instead of hollering about being a coal miner's daughter, Ortega's formidable pipes tell the tale of moving from Toronto to Nashville to pursue a career in music - no doubt just as autobiographical, but not nearly as intriguing. A number of the songs on Tin Star are similarly preoccupied with fitting into Nashville's overcrowded scene, including the title track dedicated to struggling musicians and a song called All These Cats that sounds, well, catty.
Lindi Ortega is back with a new full-length almost exactly a year after her last one, “Cigarettes and Truckstops. ” She made it with an entirely different supporting lineup and a new producer too — a change motivated by her desire to bring “a new spirit and new ideas” to every release. The names may have changed, but the sound is much the same: predominantly, rockabilly-fueled country (the spooky reverb and railroad beat of the great kiss-off song, “Hard As This,” the sex-kitten ’billy of “I Want You”) and twangy balladry (the forlorn “Something for You” and the sweetly macabre — yes, Ortega somehow manages to combine the two — “Lived and Died Alone,” which starts as a typical song about searching for love until it takes a turn to digging up the dead to be sweethearts).