When Lindi Ortega went in search of some quiet last year, the award-winning artist was pleasantly surprised to find a voice she hadn’t heard in some time – her own. Amid sparse, atmospheric production, it’s precisely this voice – a combination of Ortega’s fatalistic perspective expressed with her evocative soprano – that grips your attention on a brand new EP, Til The Goin’ Gets Gone.
A dogged resilience permeates this unadorned collection – three originals and a cover of Townes Van Zandt’s “Waiting ‘Round To Die.” The songs are the hard-won spoils of an internal war with words that struck after an extended stretch of touring, addressed in the EP’s title track about the detours and ditches that a traveling musician faces.
“What A Girl’s Gotta Do,” a song that is the silver lining of an otherwise dreadful date, explores the gritty pragmatism of making ends meet. Alongside the title track, this song offers a second metaphor about artistic life that strengthens the EP’s overall sense of resolve. Ortega’s somber rendition of “Waiting ‘Round to Die,” acknowledges a personal debt – her recent discovery of the legendary songwriter’s music is what finally cured her writer’s block. The closer, “Final Bow,” came when Ortega assumed she only had one song left in her. “I thought I had to quit music but I wanted to leave gracefully,” she says. “But then I decided to get up and sing some more.” As a whole, this statement captures the essence of Ortega’s new EP – it’s about dusting off, gutting it out, stepping up for another round.
Ortega recorded Til The Goin’ Gets Gone in a converted East Nashville manor, where therapy horses linger on the property. Recording with her longtime guitarist James Robertson, Ortega co-produced the set with Jay Tooke and Jason “Rowdy” Cope. The small production team and minimalist instrumentation make an intimate, immediate setting for Ortega’s stark vision of the human condition. Although classic country is an indelible part of her musical history, the EP also sets the tone for the next chapter of her career: “I’ll always love Loretta, Dolly and Patsy. But I just want more space. I want more ambience.”
Ortega’s guitar-playing chops and innate country music instincts put her in an elite group of artists;
she has earned an unusually inclusive type of success with both indie cred and mainstream country recognition. From supporting Carrie Underwood on the CMA Awards to her opening slot on Chris Stapleton’s recent Canadian arena tour, Ortega is a sought-after and unique personality in Nashville’s music community and beyond.