Ortega’s nostalgic world of ‘Faded Gloryville’ looks back over her shoulder and contemplates what went before. Her fourth long player for Last Gang records reeks of class and is the sound of an artist at total peace with herself. It never tries to be anything it isn’t, it’s such a warm and comfortable listen, if you haven’t previously encountered her you might well feel a valuable discovery has been made.
Lindi Ortega’s smooth and delicious country voice strikes its way, not for note, out of the speakers, like the perfect adult lullaby. As the first song takes off her voice is the focal point, and you wouldn’t look away if you could. It’s a fascinating start and wins immediate attention from the listener. The personal touch of the verses in the opening track is such a way to start an album you feel compelled to listen to the rest, which is how an album should make you feel.
There is an elegance, a confidence, and a calm that belies Ortega’s age. While the voice is beautifully smooth, the delivery and the passion it is loaded with sounds like an artist much older. Simply, it’s the sound of a woman wise beyond her years.
Just when you thought she already had your attention she bowls you over with a shockingly good slow groove and some piercing lyrics and a vocal line to match on track 3 and single ‘Tell It Like It Is.’ It’s completely addictive, a song to play over and over. Ortega’s voice is mesmerising, a voice you would believe whatever it sang to you. Absolutely gorgeous, as she demands honesty from everybody in the room, and frankly, who are we to argue. On this track and beyond you realise this is about this woman’s somersaulting voice, never too much, never wild, and yet not even remotely reined in, it’s a gripping and jaw dropping weapon, that on Faded Gloryville this artist using to devastating effect.
The record never seems to dip, its energy, its vibe is constantly challenging, continually moving the audience – moving its feet, moving its thoughts, and certainly moving its heart . If it’s reasonable to say, it feels as close to a country pop version of Amy Winehouse as you could imagine, with a voice to floor you and songs that do total justice to that voice. This is never more seen than on her wonderful cover of The Bee Gees’ ‘To Love Somebody.’
If you like anything even remotely ‘country’ then this is an unavoidable release. If you don’t, but you love to discover great singers it really feels like once again you need to know about this record. If you fit into either of those categories this is going to blow your mind, if not you are missing out on a treat, as this album needs hearing, to believe just how good her voice is.
Words: Dominic Stevenson