Brooding balladeer

Country singer Lindi Ortega brings her morose music to Kingston

Lindi Ortega says her music inspirations range from older musicians like Sam Cooke and “Blind” Willie Johnson to classic country musicians like Loretta Lynn and Kris Kristofferson.
Lindi Ortega says her music inspirations range from older musicians like Sam Cooke and “Blind” Willie Johnson to classic country musicians like Loretta Lynn and Kris Kristofferson.
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“Murder of Crows” is one of Lindi Ortega’s songs that she calls a Johnny Cash-like murder ballad.
“Murder of Crows” is one of Lindi Ortega’s songs that she calls a Johnny Cash-like murder ballad.
Photo: 

Every musician needs to have at least one murder ballad.

Country rocker Lindi Ortega is no different, paying homage to the Johnny Cash tradition of writing a murder song of her own, “Murder of Crows.”

“It’s a song about burying a body in the backyard and I didn’t actually do that,” she said. “Sometimes I write fictional stories but a lot of the time it comes from personal experience.”

That being said, Ortega’s favourite song to play remains her darkest one.

“I think it’s a lot of fun — it’s a dark, spooky kind of tune and changes the flow of the set to bring in a different vibe.”

While some can’t be bright while embracing the darkness, Ortega is someone who’s upbeat and enthusiastic most of the time.

“People might expect from some of the content in my songs that I’m some kind of brooding, dark character, but I’m not like that.”

Ortega said fans shouldn’t be thrown off by her lyrics because her personality in real life is more uplifting.

“Especially on stage, I have a lot of energy,” she said. “I’m more absurd and quirky.”

Even before going on stage, Ortega has no intense rituals before singing her powerfully pensive songs.

“I usually spend a good portion of my time curling my hair —

that’s exciting.”

The country blues singer’s tours have taken her all over the world, including her personal favourites Switzerland and Belgium.

“I’ve toured all over Europe so that’s one of the coolest places I’ve been to. I went to Switzerland and Belgium, which I think is awesome.”

With touring comes a new adventure every day, Ortega said.

“Every tour is different so there’s always some sort of adventure that comes up. There’s always a story to tell with every tour you do,” she said.

Ortega is currently on tour with Dustin Bentall and the Smokes with plans to stop in cities all over Canada and US.

Although her influences include many older country musicians like Sam Cooke and “Blind” Willie Johnson, she’s made room for the classics as well.

“There’s the country standard people would expect — Loretta Lynn, Kris Kristofferson and Waylon Jennings.”

Lindi Ortega plays the Grad Club on Jan. 25 at 10 p.m.

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