Canadian country singer/songwriter Lindi Ortega makes a strong impression on her debut full-length CD, Little Red Boots, aided by producer Ron Lopata, who has created a neo-rockabilly sound to support her. That's apparent at the outset on "Little Lie," with its slapback upright bass courtesy of Dave Piltch and the ricky-tick drumming of Davide Direnzo, with guitar work courtesy of Kevin Breit. (Lopata himself plays keyboards.) The 1950s feel is appropriate to Ortega's songs, which are full of references to Elvis Presley ("I'm No Elvis Presley") and "Jimmy Dean" (that is, the died-young movie star James Dean, not the country singer and sausage king). Ortega sings in a kittenish country voice reminiscent of Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris, concerning herself primarily with the twin struggles of the searches for love and for self-expression as a musical artist. For the former, she tends to be despairing, acknowledging in "Little Lie" that she has told a few to her current paramour, if only to avoid telling him something he doesn't want to hear, and in "Black Fly" asking him in turn to lie to her for much the same reason ("If you say it, I'll believe it/I don't care if you don't mean a word"). For the latter, as "I'm No Elvis Presley" admits, she doesn't expect stardom, only a means to get out her individual message. All of this seems to wear her down, to the point that she's "Dying of Another Broken Heart" and even mentions suicide in "All My Friends." Happily, Lopata gooses the arrangements and inspires some lively singing from her, so that all doesn't seem lost. In fact, melancholy as Ortega can be in her down moments, Little Red Boots is for the most part a triumphant means of overcoming trouble by singing about it.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann