This was the first time I had witnessed Lindi Ortega live. From what I heard this Canadian singer songwriter can have a prospering career. When hearing her songs for the first time you would think she comes Nashville, Tennessee because of the strong country vibe throughout each one of her incredible songs. Miss Ortega has been described as Toronto’s best kept secret as she spent a decade as an independent recording artist. Over those 10 years she has self released 2 albums and an EP, released an EP via Cherrytree Records and last year saw the release of Little Red Boots the first full length on the Last Gang Records imprint. Putting all that aside I was really looking forward to hearing these songs performed in live surroundings. I had arrived at the 12 Bar around 6.45pm, paid the entrance fee and went into the room where the gig was going to be held. It was an hour later when things started to kick off as the support artist Ger Lane play a 40 minute slot to about only 5 people. It may of not been to my liking but it is a great shame when there is not a lot of people to see the warm up act.
At 9pm Miss Ortega took to the small stage and launched Angels. The night was set to feature material from current album Little Red Boots. It was only Ortega on the stage with just her acoustic guitar. This song had a country vibe to it and Lindi simply belted out this song. “Here’s a song about late night debauchery and dubious friends” Ortega said before the upbeat All My Friends. The lyrics were slightly dark “All my friends are going to kill me dead” plus this song was rather pacey. “I survived my friends, I still hang out with them from time to time I’m not going to lie” she then said after there was plenty of applause. “Well if its particular vices that are not going to kill you then sometimes it’s a broken heart” Lindi said before getting stuck into Dying Of Another Broken Heart. This song details about a relationship that started off well and then turned sour. This again had a strong country vibe and comparisons to Dolly Parton sprung to my mind. “This next tune, I was at the end of a relationship that was not happening. It wasn’t working out and I didn’t quite know how to say it without saying it. And I kinda felt mean about saying it. I like to think that I’m a nice person but in this particular situation I kinda was a bit of a coward and didn’t know how to just end it. I kind of indulged the guy in the lie that the relationship was still going. I told him some little lies and then we ended up breaking up. He was a bit of a jerk so he totally deserved it” this then resulted in the song Little Lie. I found this song to be rather upbeat and catchy. The lyrics clearly paint the picture of what is happening in the song. I would say that Little Lie is the show piece of the current album Little Red Boots. “I’m Half Mexican and Half Irish. I like tequila and Guinness. I like potatoes and burritos. And I like Leprechauns and Speedy Gonzales” she then said to the small audience.
“This next song, I figured I’d bring a bit of positivity see I’m not all doom and gloom all the time. There is a silver lining” Lindi said before mentioning that she had just got her guitar fixed after she had dropped it and was happy again. Cheerful bluegrass tune Blue Bird was the next to feature on the night. “I went on tour with this guy you might of heard of him his name is Kevin Costner. He’s an actor who also happens to have a band called The Modern West. I luckily got invited to go out and tour with him across the Mid West which was really cool. It was really an experience to get out there and Dances With Wolves is like one of my favourite movies, it was kind of surreal to be in that environment. When I was doing that tour I was wearing these red boots and people kept on commenting on them after the show” Ortega said before launching into her signature song Little Red Boots. “So I’m a big fan of Johnny Cash, he’s like my hero. I just love him so much, I love all his records and all of his songs” Lindi said before revealing that the first Cash song she heard was Folsom Prison Blues. It then led into the Lindi Ortega version of this song. This was one spectacular take on this song. Ortega definitely did it justice. She mentioned the line in the song she blown away by was “I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die”. Ortega then asked how the audience was doing before saying her bottle of water wasn’t vodka. “This next little tune is a tune about looking for love and I intend to look in all the wrong places. This song is sort of about putting a signal out there. You know how Batman shines his Batman signal. I am kinda wishing people looking for love could shine a little signal and you would know where they are” she then said before playing When All The Stars Align. Even if Lindi didn’t mention what the song was about you would still be able to picture the story as the lyrics were very clear and precise “We’ll be together When All The Stars Align”. This pacey song with a country twang went down well with the intimate audience. “I thought I would whip out a couple of new songs that I’ve been working on and you know I’ve sang a lot about drinking and a lot about other illegal substances. This is a song it’s kinda like my Public Service Announcement to everybody” Ortega then said before getting stuck into Use Me. In this song Lindi mentions everything you shouldn’t use (Drugs, Alcohol etc. You could actually picture this as an instructional song for kids in Secondary school or adults that are trying to get clean. “This next tune I wrote with a friend of mine in Nashville his name is Bruce Wallis. So him and I we were having a bad day separately, he was having his bad day and I was having my bad day. Then we decided to get together and commiserate and reminisce about or bad days. Us both being song writers we naturally picked up a guitar and wrote a song about what we do when we have a bad day” Lindi said before launching into Little Bit High. This powerful song was vocally spot on. It was then straight into the pacey I’m No Elvis Presley. I found this an extremely fun song which I completely adored. Lindi Ortega may not be Elvis Presley, she may not be legendary. But she is one phenomenal artist in her own right. “This is going to be my last tune here” Ortega then said to the audience which resulted in some groans. “It’s been a real honour to be able to play here tonight. I played here a while ago and I only got to do a short little set and it’s nice to come back and do a normal set” she then went onto say before ending the night with another newie Cigarettes And Truck Stops. “So I went out on a tour and they tell you when you go out on tours not to hook up with people in the band” Lindi said before revealing she didn’t heed this warning. Cigarettes And Truck Stops was a song about really missing somebody. Just hearing this wonderful song live makes me anticipate the sequel to Little Red Boots.
All My Friends
Dying Of Another Broken Heart
Little Red Boots
Folsom Prison Blues
When All The Stars Align
I’m No Elvis Presley
Cigarettes And Truck Stops
OVERALL: I really enjoyed this gig. I advise everyone to give Lindi Ortega a listen to and then make your mind up whether you like it. Country music is something I rarely listen to but honestly I was blown away by what was performed. I definitely look forward to Miss Ortega’s next gig at The Borderline (with band).