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Lindi Ortega

Little Red Boots – 2011 (Last Gang)

Reviewed by Dustin Blumhagen

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CDs by Lindi Ortega

Lindi Ortega is an independent musician from Toronto, Canada, who has been working under the radar for more than a decade. She recently toured as a backup singer for The Killers' front man Brandon Flowers' solo project. In addition to working with the pop artist, she has also been featured on reggae group Major Lazer's latest. With a resume like that, one wouldn't be blamed for expecting a Sugarland style sound on her country solo release. Instead, Ortega channels early Johnny Cash styled rockabilly with a blend of alt-.country backing her smooth vocals.

Lead track Little Lie is reminiscent of classic Wanda Jackson, with Ortega's feisty delivery laid on top of a bouncing bass rhythm. The album benefits from the open mindedness of the alt.-country genre, drawing inspiration from classic country (This Is Your Life), rockabilly (I'm No Elvis Presley), and even Gwen Stefani (Black Fly). The 12-track album allows room for plenty of musical variety without ever feeling schizophrenic. Each song is anchored by the strength of her voice, whether she is letting it wail freely or practicing controlled restraint.

"Little Red Boots" is a classic country album with modern flourishes. Ortega exhibits a comfortable confidence throughout, whether she is tearing up the dance floor or slowing things down for a heartfelt ballad. The most comfortable comparison would be Kasey Chambers, who also has a unique, but strong voice and draws from many different musical genres on her albums. Quiet acoustic numbers are followed by banjo-fueled dance songs, giving the album a healthy dose of variety that showcases her ability to vocally master any song she approaches. While Lindi Ortega is a relatively unknown name on the music scene, this album is a hidden gem that should not be overlooked.