Her most successful album to date, Faded Gloryville is Ortega's true introduction to mainstream and American country music. Although she has been active as a musician since 2000, the first real success she experienced was in 2011 with Little Red Boots. Ortega mixes 80's country with new Americana. Roots artists like Ortega and newer acts like Whitney Rose and Ashley Monroe have been receiving extensive praise from those in favor of keeping country country. One could call Ortega more Americana than country, which she probably is, but the reason it sounds so Americana and different is because country music on the radio doesn't sound like country anymore, it sounds like a strange version of southern pop with hip hop beats.
Two of the best tracks on this record are the opener and the closer. The first song of Faded Gloryville is one of the only positive and hopeful songs, on a quite gloomy (but masterful) record. "Ashes" is about the end of a relationship, and growing and learning from a heartbreak. It is a slightly desperate but also a strong song, one that shows off Ortega's songwriting and beautiful voice right off the bat. Vocally, Ortega is such a unique talent. She has a classic sounding voice, somewhere between Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris. She has a heavy vibrato on her voice which adds a haunting feel to her music. On this song, and the last song, "Half Moon," her voice adds so much to songs, which would be incredible already, even without Ortega's gorgeous voice singing them.
A song that describes Ortega as a musician perfectly is the third song of this collection, "Tell It Like It Is." Written solely by Ortega, (she also wrote 'Faded Gloryville" and "I Ain't the Girl" by herself) although this song is about relationships and love, this is what Ortega does in her songwriting and music. She bold, and brave, and is okay playing music that maybe the radio isn't going to embrace or many country fans just won't understand. But that is what makes her stand out. She's not like everyone else.
Ortega wrote every song on the album, but did include a cover of the Bee Gee's "To Love Somebody." Using the Nina Simone cover as a base, Ortega countrifies this classic soul-pop late 60's hit. Incorporating a few bluesy elements, Ortega goes her most out of the country genre, with the incorporation of trumpets and John Mayer circa 2006 influenced beats. But again, it's lovely to have someone experiment with the bluesy soulful sounds rather than the electro-pop sounds that Kelsea Ballerini and Florida Georgia Line play with.
Ortega seems devoted to getting women back into country music, and the women who really deserve it. She wrote a wonderful piece for Saving Country Music in June, responding to Salad Gate, and the comments by Keith Hill saying that if you want ratings in country music, take women out." She wants the women who write beautiful songs, have incredible voices, and much more talent than the men on the radio right now to get a chance. Lindi Ortega is one who deserves that chance, and she's determined to get it, without molding into who country radio right now wants her to be.
Best tracks: To Love Somebody, Half Moon, Ashes, I Ain't The Girl
Throwaway tracks: none
Overall rating: 4 and a half crowns