Nashville beckoned, and Lindi Ortega answered the call. Armed with an inimitable, irresistible singing voice The Independent hails as “a truly magnificent instrument,” and a heart bursting with creative ambition, the Canadian songstress whom American Songwriter calls “the love child of Johnny Cash and Nancy Sinatra” decided to relocate to Music City from her native Toronto to birth her brand new musical offspring, Cigarettes & Truckstops.
A logical follow-up to her 2011 critically acclaimed alt-country masterpiece Little Red Boots, the 10-song Cigarettes & Truckstops further flaunts Ortega’s distinctive vision; one that embraces the oft- neglected, politically incorrect realism of traditional country and frames it in a charmingly, and sometimes darkly humourous contemporary context. Bookended by a couple of romantic road ballads in the title track and the reflective “Every Mile Of The Ride,” Cigarettes & Truckstops further evolves the promise foreshadowed by the JUNO-Award nominated-and-Polaris-Music-Prize-long-listed Little Red Boots.
The writing is stellar, her musical discipline undoubtedly galvanized by a fearless 2010-2012 tour schedule that saw Lindi open for a variety of acts, from punk vets Social Distortion; pop icon Burton Cummings; country fave Dierks Bentley; folk outfit Noah & The Whale and Academy Award winner Kevin Costner with attention-grabbing finesse, making serious inroads with North American and European audiences, and prompting Exclaim! to declare Ortega an “electrifying” performer. Ortega continues to deliver a refreshing twist that walks vintage and contemporary lines in imaginative and inventive manners. But in order to realize this next step of her artistic fruition, the two-time JUNO Award nominee (Canada’s equivalent to the Grammy Awards) had to pull up her Canadian stakes and come to the well. “I was really inspired by being here in Nashville,” explains Ortega, the daughter of a Northern Irish mother and Mexican father who has been performing since she picked up a guitar at age 16. “I wanted the authenticity of my influences to shine through on this record. I knew I liked country and I think moving here, I wanted to delve into those influences more genuinely."
A big breakthrough was Ortega’s topical candour. “I was sort of delving into the darker corners of my mind with some things, which was interesting for me, and not being afraid to put some other things out there,” she reveals. There are plenty of gems on Cigarettes & Truckstops that are ripe for personal discovery, a riveting tour-de-force of an album that will open up more ears and hearts to the scintillating sounds of Lindi Ortega and an appreciation of the unique perspective she brings to her craft. Two trademarks impel her artistry: sincerity and honesty. “I’m not going to deny it because I can’t,” Ortega admits. “It just comes out. I owe it to the song and to myself to expel that expression, put it into music and be very honest and forthright about the good, the bad and the ugly of Lindi Ortega.” [Nick Krewen]
The Vancouver-born son of Canadian roots rocker Barney Bentall, Dustin Bentall was raised on the music of Neil Young, The Band, Bob Dylan, Tom T. Hall, The Beatles and Steve Earle. On his third release, Orion, Dustin kept what he loved from that music, scratched a new itch to expand and evolved his sound by assembling Ryan Dahle (Limblifter, Age Of Electric) as producer and three soon-to-be-stumbled-upon bi-coastal players that were also in search of a gang. This became a sound that can only be attributed to Dustin Bentall & The Smøkes.