Kingston is an interesting city for music lovers. It has a thriving indie-folk scene, with up-and-comers regularly playing the Mansion, Clark Hall, the Merchant, and other intimate venues. Craig Cardiff, the Trews, the Strumbellas, Courage My Love, and many other folk-rock groups have passed through the Limestone City on their way to hitting it big. Yet the stone’s throw distance between here and Havelock, Loughborough, and Sydenham make Kingston a country city too. Country music supernova Carrie Underwood’s stop in our little town speaks for itself, not to mention the shows of Billy Currington, Merle Haggard, and others. In Kingston, we do country really, really well.
Enter Lindi Ortega, the songstress that brings together country, folk, and rock in an organic and sincere way. Ortega played on December 7th to a packed house at the Grad Club, an intimate space that held just about fifty people. The show was her final engagement on an headlining tour across Canada and the northern states. Originally from Toronto, Ortega left the North for Nashville to hone her style. Now, her songs make cheeky references to country icons. For instance, in “Cigarettes & Truckstops” she croons, “Oh I’d hear Dolly singin’, you and I were islands in the stream.”
Yet “Indie Lindi,” as she’s sometimes called, gives her country a folksy edge. “Heaven Has No Vacancy,” a track from her 2012 album Tin Star, uses a Indian sitar and veers decidedly away from traditional country. “I like to work with different musicians and producers to change the feels of every release. I don’t want to risk making the same record over and over. Working with a new group brings a new spirit and new ideas to the music,” says Ortega.
Her audience on Saturday ranged in age from just-of-age youngsters all the way to retirees, with all equally swaying in enjoyment to her crooning. After the show, good-natured Lindi tweeted to her fans: “Last tour of the show tonight in Kingston! It’s been a whirlwind! Thanks to everyone who’s come out to see me sing. I am grateful to you!”
To stream Lindi Ortega’s discography or to see a schedule of upcoming shows, visit www.lindiortega.com.
Thanks to Jill Elizabeth Stevens for the photo accompanying today’s post.