Previously Performed in: 2017, 2012
(Calgary, AB) Alt-Country, Rockabilly, Singer-Songwriter
It’s no wonder singer-songwriter Lindi Ortega once ditched her Toronto hometown and hit the road for Nashville. With a sound spooned by Dolly and Emmylou, her vocal chords alone could have stolen a vintage truck and hit the interstate. Ortega writes songs that swerve from highway to roadhouse, fueled on heartbreak and hopefulness as she whips out guitar chops and abundant melody.
Her five years in Nashville were less about chasing the industry dream than living the music’s history, including playing on the country music awards as part of Carrie Underwood’s backing band and performing her own set at the Opry. At no time did Ortega attempt to fit into the city’s glossy mold. In Nashville as in Toronto, Ortega remained a constant on critics’ up and comer lists, but, always the bridesmaid — broke, and tired of living gig to gig — she eased off until the muse coaxed out one more set songs before following her heart to Calgary.
These recent songs are distanced from Nashville’s slickness and illusions, growing simpler, stripped down, spare. Ortega’s ability to capture in lyrics the bright flashes between the larger darkness is reminiscent of a starry sky. Fed by the gritty city, this angel may have flown from Nashville, but she took its vintage soul and a defiant optimism with her.