May 11, 2018

Show Review / Lindi Ortega / @RamsHeadOnStage

By Scott Colvin

Lindi Ortega’s penultimate concert on the U.S. leg of her world-wide Liberty Tour came to the intimate Ram’s Head On Stage in Annapolis, MD on April 25th. While the venue wasn’t at capacity (it was a Wednesday, so let’s cut the artist and venue some slack) the fans who were there were presented with a thrilling performance by the Canadian country torch singer with one of the finest albums of 2018.

While the majority of the show focused on songs from her striking new album Liberty, Ortega led off the night with a pair of tracks from her “recognized” debut album Little Red Boots -- “Dying of Another Broken Heart” and “All of the Angels.” Both songs (hell, one can say this about most of her songs) were flush with Ortega’s aching vocals and steadied by drummer Ryan Brewer and “Champagne” James Robertson’s jangly guitar playing. “Demon Don’t Get Me Down” off Cigarettes & Truckstops came up next and was a rollicking ride of country attitude and featured a fantastic slide guitar solo by Robertson.

Among the songs from Liberty, Ortega played “In The Clear,” a reflective song about weathering a personal storm, the head-bobbing title track with very western guitar licks, and the slow and sweet “Lovers In Love” a song she said was “one of the first real love songs she’s written” (marriage will do that). 

She also played Liberty’s musically and vocally intense “Comeback Kid,” the album’s first single, featuring Brewer’s ominous drumming which added a certain danger to the song. Ortega celebrated her Mexican/Spanish speaking heritage with “Pablo” and the lovely “Gracias a la Vida” by Chilean composer Violetta Parra which was the encore’s first song. 

Ortega closed out the set with a song about “backstabbers,” “You Ain’t Foolin’ Me” where she slinked and slithered on stage, selling the song while showing her fun side.

Two of the finest moments of the night came when Ortega sang the brilliant Nashville underdog song-writer song “Tin Star” and probably her most known song, the transcendent “Cigarettes & Truckstops.” 

Lindi Ortega is an adept storyteller in melancholia.  There is a pain, power and lucidity in her voice that is absent from today’s party-hardy, feel-good scene (which has nothing to do with real country music) and is certainly welcome and admirable.  

Obligatory shot of Scott and Lindi

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