Her new album, Faded Gloryville, is available today, (expect a review shortly), so today the Female Friday spotlight is on Lindi Ortega.
How You Might Know Lindi
If you watch ABC’s Nashville, you may have heard Lindi–she has had several song placements on the show. (Interesting that a TV show would help promote her, but radio won’t…)
From a 2013 interview with
Saving Country Music
in reference to her motivation to make music that might not have mass commercial appeal
But my motivation comes from my influences, and people that have stuck to their guns. I read a lot of biographies. If there is one thing I can respect more than anything, it’s individuality in music. And I think back in the early era of country music that was so apparent. Like you could really tell your Johnny Cash from your Waylons from your Merles. They all had a distinct thing happening. And they were all really great at what they did. It was really important for me to etch out my own thing as a student of that.
From one listen to Lindi Ortega, I can tell she means every word she says. She easily has the most unique female voice in country music today.
Lindi Ortega (born May 28, 1980, from Toronto, Ontario), wrote her first song, “Faded Dress” at the age of seventeen. She spent many hard years in the Toronto music scene, where she gained the nickname “Indie Lindi.” Her struggles as an artist, as well as the universal struggles of musicians, are often referenced in her songs. The best example of this is the title track from her 2013 album Tin Star, where she sings of the “tin stars” who are “lost in the shining stars of Nashville, Tennessee.”
After struggling for about a decade and eventually moving to Nashville, Lindi signed with Last Gang Records in 2011. She has released three albums since then, including Little Red Boots, (2011), Cigarettes and Truckstops, (2012), and Tin Star (2013.) She is known for her unique soprano voice, wich has been compared to the voices of both Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris. When I first heard her sing, I heard Dolly Parton and Stevie Nicks, but in other songs I can hear Emmylou Harris as well. Her albums have received much critical acclaim, and she has been nominated for several awards by the Canadian Country Music Association. In 2014, Lindi won the CCMA Award for Roots Artist or Group of the Year and was nominated for Female Artist of the Year. She has also been nominated by the CCMA for 2015’s Roots Artist or Group of the Year.
Since this column is dedicated to promoting females, it should be noted that my first exposure to Lindi Ortega came shortly after the “tomato” incident in May. Lindi spoke out about the comments in an article called
“I Say, Include Women”
Women have had to fight to be treated as equals in society. We have had to fight for equal pay. We have had to fight against sexism, harassment, misogyny. And as if we don’t have enough battles, now we have to fight to get equal play on the radio. The entertainment industry has got to be one of the most difficult industries for women, because we are faced with so many double standards. We decide to have children and suddenly we are asked about how we can handle having a child and a career. Or the public is more concerned with who designed our dress rather than what inspired our craft.
But circling back to “take women out,” just think of those words: “TAKE WOMEN OUT.” I can’t begin to describe to you how my blood boils at those words. Erase us, delete us . . . make it so we don’t exist.
I highly recommend reading this; when I read it, I immediately wanted to check out her music. When I did, I found songs from each of her first three albums that I enjoyed. I would not have known about her if she hadn’t spoken up about this. Her fourth album for Last Gang Records, Faded Gloryville, comes out today, and I will have a review soon.
Why Lindi Belongs on Country Radio
Lindi Ortega is not seeking airplay at all. Up to this point, she hasn’t released anything with widespread mainstream appeal and seems to stick to her “individuality” that she values so much. I would argue that that is exactly why she belongs on the radio. I have seen comments on other sites by Canadians who say she doesn’t even get played up there. What do we hear every time we turn on a show like The Voice? They want uniqueness, originality, individuality, etc. I hear Blake Shelton talk all the time about turning on the radio and immediately recognizing someone’s voice. If uniqueness is what we’re going for, Lindi Ortega should be getting radio airplay. She has the most distinct female sound in country music.
Tracks I Recommend
Lindi has a lot of dark material, and I am not always a fan of dark albums, so I don’t prefer to listen to everything on all her albums. Having said that, most of it is good, and if you have a taste for it, you will like most of it. These tracks are my personal preferences. Also, just like with Ashley Monroe, her new album is off limits.
1. Murder of Crows–Cigarettes and Truckstops
2. Little Lie–Little Red Boots
3. Cigarettes and Truckstops–Cigarettes and Truckstops
4. When all the Stars Align–Little Red Boots
5. Angels–Little Red Boots
6. Bluebird–Little Red Boots
7. The Day You Die–Cigarettes and Truckstops
8. Tin Star–Tin Star
9. I Want You–Tin Star
This was my first introduction to Lindi’s remarkable and distinct voice. Like I said, I hear Dolly Parton and Stevie Nicks. Certainly not a bad comparison.