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Lindi Ortega at O2 Academy, Birmingham

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by Andy Coleman (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer living in Birmingham. I like Classic Rock, 70s pop music, football and interviewing celebrities. Follow me on Twitter: @andycoleman9
Event:
Country singer goes back to basics
She's Canadian and she sings country music - but don't let that deter you from seeing Lindi Ortega at Birmingham's O2 Academy on January 23.

Now based in Nashville, Tennessee, Lindi takes her inspiration from the likes of Johnny Cash and Emmylou Harris, credible country artists whose albums you can proudly admit to owning. Lindi even wears a black veil in homage to the late great Man in Black.

"There's a really great line in Walk the Line where Johnny is explaining why he always wears black," she says. "Someone says to him, 'You look like you're going to a funeral' and he says to them, 'Well maybe I am.' And that phrase, it stuck with me. I thought I would dress like I was going to the same funeral."

Lindi Ortega
Credible Country: Lindi Ortega


Toronto-born Lindi's alternative style of country certainly singles her out in her adopted home of Nashville. She recalls one particular show, just after moving to Tennessee, when she was on the bill at a bar with other performers.

"I went on after this real pop-country girl — blonde, frilly little dress," she says. "I played my strange brew of country: old school, a little bit of blues and roots and rockabilly. And I sang a song about marijuana and cigarettes."

It may have seemed shocking to a traditional audience but her talent was swiftly noted and she has since toured with Brandon Flowers from The Killers and Noah and the Whale.

"I can really relate to the struggling musician and people who are working really hard to make their way," she claims. "I can relate to all those frustrations. But I can also relate to the other side of it, because I've had a little bit of success. I'm straddling those two worlds."

Lindi Ortega Tin Star


Her latest album, Tin Star, offers an insight into her new life in the American south.

"Tin stars are something that people hang all over the South," she explains. "They hang them in the bars and on houses, they're made to look all rustic, all beat-up and worn and weathered. I guess I just took notice of one hanging up on the bar in Nashville one day and it made me think of the juxtapositions of Music City, this city where people come to see the Country Music Hall of Fame and all these big country stars, but then there's the people like me who are out there playing for tips and busking on the streets."

Other album highlights include Gypsy Child which sums up the itinerant lifestyle of the working musician and Songs About, a tribute to her own back catalogue: "Songs about lovin', songs about cryin', songs about living, songs about dying."

Lindi Ortega
From Toronto to Nashville: Lindi Ortega


Then there's All These Cats, an account of her experience of "these showcasey things that happen in Nashville, where there are industry people there, and seven or eight bands playing a night."

As a new arrival to the city, Lindi found these events somewhat bemusing.

"You get people who are competitive about it, they'll stare you down. And I was kind of an outsider anyway — I wasn't from their town. And here I was, dressed all funny singing my country songs at their showcase night. So I wrote All These Cats as a funny in-your-face song to say 'You know, actually I'm not going anywhere. In fact I'm gonna move here'."

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Why? Country Music you won't be ashamed to admit liking.
When: January 23, 2014
Phone: 0121 622 8250
Where: O2 Academy Birmingham, 16-18 Horsefair, Bristol Street B1 1DB
Cost: £11.25
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