Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Legendary Lindi

In "I'm no Elvis Presley" from her third album, Little Red Boots, Country phenom Lindi Ortega sings of a failed attempt to wow the A&R reps in an LA songwriter showcase: 

I did my best to impress
You were not impressed, I guess
Oh well, what can you do?
I sing songs and play guitar
That don't make me a superstar
Oh well, who the hell are you?

In her notes, the dismissive A&R rep from some unnamed label wrote of Ortega, "Oh, she's good, but I don't ever see her being legendary." The words made it into the song:

I know I'm not legendary
I'm nothing extraordinary
Maybe you're just ordinary too
I'm no Elvis Presley, no
I'm no Elvis Presley, no
I'm no Elvis Presley, so
Who the hell are you?

That was back in 2011. Since then, Ortega's packed up her signature little red boots and relocated to Nashville. In 2012 she released "Cigarettes and Truckstops." Produced with the help of ace Colin Linden, the album won wide acclaim, including being longlisted for the Polaris Prize. Allmusic.com gave it four and a half stars.

I loved it; it had everything I loved about its predecessor only moreso. The songs were stronger, the production richer. It was a perfect follow-up.

Now it's 2013 and Ortega has released Tin Star, her third album in as many years, to universal acclaim.

Entertainment Weekly calls it the best country album of 2013 and "The album that country music needs":

The Guardian calls it "a dark paradise for lovers of country."

I think it's the best album I've heard all year. "I want you" is crank-it-up sexy. "All These Cats" is a cheeky rebuke to the Nashville establishment. Songs About" is absolutely majestic. Ortega's voice is still there, as is crack musicianship to back her up. The songs are as strong as ever.

I wonder what that A&R rep thinks of her now.

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