Lindi Ortega Breaks Out with “Cigarettes & Truckstops”

October 30, 2012 - By Trigger  //  Reviews  //  28 Comments

I think I’m in love.

Level with me folks. What do you think the chances are for a two bit blogger and a dame like Lindi Ortega hooking up? Do you think she’ll be impressed by my unique pageview stats, or my ’98 Toyota pickup truck with whiskey dents and a faded Reinstate Hank sticker? Cause I’ve got it bad my friends. I’m gnawing on my palm like Squiggy. Or was that Leonard?

Not since Rachel Brooke have we seen such a wicked combination of beauty, style, singing, and song craft. Lindi Ortega has it all. I’ve seen a lot of chatter out there in the music world about Lindi lately, and folks wanting to slate her as alt-country or Americana. Well those people are going to have to fight me for her, because I’m planting a flag and claiming her for pure, true, honest-to-God country. Her talent is just too good to relegate to ill-defined sub-genres. Lindi Ortega is just what country music needs.

From Toronto, Ontario, Lindi Ortega evokes the ghost of Patsy Cline and the cool factor of Wanda Jackson. Like with Elizabeth Cook, you almost can’t believe that an artist whose beauty is so stark would find appeal in the lower rungs of the music world; that they would settle on being real instead of real famous. But don’t let the beauty fool you, Lindi is the real deal, with a natural desire to revitalize authentic country vibes and a natural vibrato to her voice that stokes the soul. “Indie Lindi” is what she was know by for 10 years or so in and around Toronto, putting out independent releases before making waves with her Drifter EP released on a subsidiary of Interscope Records in 2008, and now storming the world with Cigarettes & Truckstops.

Cigarettes & Truckstops is a succulent endeavor into the very fabric of country music, dusting off country’s roots, adding a little rockabilly, and re-emerging with them in a sexy and relevant candor, talking care free about drugs and danger, and not doing anything to be cool but being herself. Lindi Ortega doesn’t need to paint flames on her chest, she’s hot enough.

Good luck poking holes in what Lindi is throwing down here. The taste that Cigarettes and & Truckstops is constructed with is impenetrable. It all starts with Lindi’s songwriting, brought to life with her voice that seems so at home in the high register that commonly is a stretch for even the most-skilled of female singers. The production is laid back, giving Lindi’s voice and words tremendous space to breathe while the vocal track is buffered with a tasteful dollop of vintage reverb, allowing it to reach for the stratosphere and stick to your bones.

You barely even recognize the music your first few times through, even though the guitar is loud, sweaty, and superb throughout. This is good, because your attention is so trained on Lindi and the magic she is throwing down, you have to take a step back to recognize that the music is just as face melting and ripe for compliment. Even when the production turns more progressive, like on the ending of “High”, it’s always perfect to the mood and style. Mad props for Lindi and producer Colin Linden for making this album right.

But it all comes back to the songwriting for me. Lindi endows her songs with the wit and appealing sense of perspective that marks all great country music. And though I may joke about being possessive in calling her country, I certainly can see how folks from a very wide swath of the roots world could get into her music. From the underground to Americana, if you don’t like her music, you’re not listening to it right.

Oh, and another thing, this album towards the end turns deliciously dark. From burying bodies in “Murder of Crows”, to the drug-induced “High” and the pleadings of “Use Me”, this album gets raw without sacrificing its realness. As implied by the title, Cigarettes & Truckstops is a journey, and carries with it the real, believable stories rewarded to Lindi by real living.

I don’t know ladies and gentlemen, we might be looking at one of the best albums put out all year here.

Two guns up!

(and 5 points if you picked up on the Laverne & Shirley reference)

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Purchase Cigarettes & Truckstops from Lindi Ortega

Purchase Cigarettes & Truckstops from Amazon ($5.99 right now)

28 Comments to “Lindi Ortega Breaks Out with “Cigarettes & Truckstops””

  • I couldn’t agree more. I’ve loved her music for a few years now and I’m so happy to see she is getting the recognition she deserves.

  • Slick stuff. Sounds a bit like Neko Case. by the way, what has she been up to lately? Anyone…?

    • I saw her at Pickathon in August. Granted, I saw her “Secondary” performance and apparently her main performance was much better, but it was unenthused, she forgot words to songs, messed up others, and seemed generally bothered to be there. She was wearing an Iron Maiden T-shirt, flipping her hair most of the set when her hands weren’t in her pockets.


      Apparently she’s working on a new album in the Northwest.

  • You had me at “98 toyota”

    • Just bought it!

      • The album or a 98 Toyota? :)

        • The album. Dude! Thanks trigger. This is phenomenal.

  • GREAT review… still think though that she is not total Country… pigeon-holing her work does not do her justice, but the part of her that IS Country, definitely IS the salvation of current Country music. She is amazing, and soon to be HUGE!

  • Redemption!

  • Perhaps you should join the FLDS Church? That way, you get to marry Rachel Brooke, Linda Ortega, and Amanda Shires at the same time!

    • If only a man could be so lucky.

    • Dude, not cool. What will the rest of us do when Trigger snatches up all the good ones?

  • mostly squiggy but lenny would join in sometimes

  • What are whiskey dents?

    • Small dents, just a step down from downright body damage, usually incurred when someone drinks to much whiskey and runs into things. I don’t drink whiskey. My ’98 Toyota came that way. Don’t drink and drive kids!

  • Love the lyrics and music. Reminds me a bit of Dolly Parton authentic with a little bit of Emmy Lou serious. Glad you got over the Taylor crush. :-) Was getting tedious.

  • Better than Swift fo sho.

  • I actually dismissed this at release because of the cover art. Figured it was another of Nashville pop. I’ve reconsidered.

  • It’s crazy that I discovered 2 of the bests canadian artists on a texas-based website. IT’s great that our roots music is getting real good and starts getting recognition…..you should definitely take a look at a Manitoba band called OH My Darling…..4 really hot looking women who are really talented musicians….they blew my mind when I saw them play live.

  • If this is not country I dont know what is.

  • Great album, i thoroughly enjoyed it. “Demons” was my favorite tune

    • I agree “Demons” was definitely my fav’ from this. The whole album is something special. Thanks for the good review Triggerman!

  • So I read this glowing review, (“glowing” not being nearly strong enough a word, but I’m sick, damn tired, can’t sleep, and can’t think of a better one right now), then I start listening to the sample tracks provided, and stop both of the first two (“The Day You Die” and “Lead Me On”) part way through with a kind of “meh” feeling. It’s real country, it’s nice, but I’m not feeling it.

    Then I hit play on “Murder of Crows”.

    All I can say is “HOLY SHIT THAT WAS AWESOME!” From the first note, it had what the first two lacked, an edge, and energy. On top of that, it paints a vivid visual story that’s almost “Tarantino-like” in my mind when I listen to it, damn near got goosebumps from it. (I’m awake now.)

  • Thanks for the review trigger man . This album is great . My favorite song has to be heaven has no vaccancy . Really shows the despair people have in their lives.

  • I was just on her homepage and it looks like two of her tracks were on ABC’s Nashville.

  • Trigger, did you review her first album, “Little Red Boots?” I think its actually better than the nonetheless well-made “Cigarettes and Truckstops.” Songs like “Angels” from her first album are fantastic country compositions.

    • No I have not, but I’ve heard a lot about it. I’ll try and secure a copy.

      • You can download it on Amazon now for $5.00.

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