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Lindi Ortega - ‘Liberty’ Album Review


1. Through The Dust, Part 1

2. Afraid Of The Dark

3. You Ain’t Foolin’ Me

4. Til My Dyin’ Day

5. Nothing Is Impossible

6. Through The Dust, Part 2

7. The Comeback Kid

8. Darkness Be Gone

9. Forever Blue

10. In The Clear

11. Pablo

12. Lovers In Love

13. Through The Dust, Part 3

14. Liberty

15. Gracias a La Vida

Modern Spaghetti Western Cinematic Soundtrack? Lindi Ortega has been releasing excellent albums for years now and has a back catalog that the masses need to explore with classic touching songs such as ‘Heaven Has No Vacancy” and ‘Hard As This’ representing just two examples. Her voice and lyrics have a unique twist that she has made all her own. Ortega decided to push herself outside of her comfort zone here and release an album that will demand your attention with a story that follows a person from the dark recesses of depression and loneliness to the surge of brief overconfidence as the demons fade before finding a feeling of peace and belonging.

Beginning with the first of three brief instrumentals that are used to mark key changes in the story, the haunting ‘Afraid Of The Dark’ is the first song on offer and finds Ortega singing from the depths of self-doubt, darkness, depression, and despair as she warns listeners that they should not approach if they are unwilling to experience the darkness as it can bring others into its depths. With subtle instrumentation, Ortega’s vocals shine in the mix. ‘You Ain’t Foolin’ Me’ is a great Rock infused song that features several hooks throughout the 4 ½ minutes of the song. There is a very effective electric guitar solo that allows the listener to see Ortega struggling to escape the darkness. ‘Til My Dyin’ Day’ hits the sweet spot as a slow acoustic country ballad laced with heavy emotions while the following ‘Nothing Is Impossible’ begins to show a very brief glimpse of light.

'Through the Dust Part 2' resets the scene for the next phase of the album with the high energy of ‘The Comeback Kid’ being a total change of pace on the album. As I mentioned in the intro, this is where Ortega experiences that surge of energy, emotion, and over self-confidence that comes with initially escaping the darkness. This was one of the early songs released from the album and allows Ortega to sing with strength and conviction. ‘Darkness Be Gone’ represents that dangerous time when the darkness makes another push to pull us back as we slide down from the previous emotional high and question our self-confidence.

Ortega’s vocals are again mesmerizing with each note and piece of music sounding vital to the entire composition. The hooks take time to appear but do after several listens. ‘Forever Blue’ finds Ortega pushing forward towards the light with some great steel guitar work featured here. Ortega sings a lot of the album using her ethereal voice which elevates ‘In The Clear’ to another plain as it sounds like a hymn with Ortega raising the hair on my arms. After several listens, this has become one of my favorite songs on the album as we have fought off the darkness. ‘Pablo’ picks up the pace as we meet another character on the journey. This Rocky Country song brings Gram Parsons to my mind at times with excellent guitar and rhythm work capturing the positive spirit that has now flowed into the album. ‘Lovers in Love’ is another favorite and perhaps the most straight forward Country song on offer here. Ortega sounds positively angelic and brings a hook designed to take up space in the listener’s head. This would be an ideal song to send to radio.

As we approach the end of our journey, ‘Through The Dust, Part 3” introduces the final scene in the story. The Mexican influenced up tempo ‘Liberty’ is pure magic with its description of the light that now surrounds Ortega on the journey. Growing up largely in New Mexico, there is something incredibly soothing hearing the trumpets propel us forward on the journey. Ortega wraps up the album with a cover of ‘Gracias a La Vida’ featuring just acoustic guitars and some more incredibly effective trumpet. This is the first time she has recorded a song in Spanish for an album, and, based on this performance, I would be disappointed if it is the last.

Lindi Ortega had recently contemplated leaving music behind her, and I am very thankful that she was able to find ways to continue to bring out new music, despite all of the barriers musicians face in terms of being able to make a living doing the art they love to do and we love to experience. Her experimentation in creating this album helped make this a great record that has become better with each listen. While this won’t likely be one that you play in the car, it is an album that will wrap its arm around your soul and command your attention in other settings. Ortega has not made the same album twice and has firmly established her own identity with her magnificent voice.

Review - Gerald Stansbury

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