COURTESY PHOTOCountry greats: Lindi Ortega’s style combines influences from Patsy Cline and Hank Williams.

COURTESY PHOTOCountry greats: Lindi Ortega’s style combines influences from Patsy Cline and Hank Williams.

Pure Nashville sounds from Lindi Ortega

In 12 years of touring, Toronto-bred, honky-tonk kitten Lindi Ortega discovered a universal travel truth, couched in a Far East metaphor: “You can read about China all you want, but it’s not until you visit it that you get a real understanding for it,” she says.

It explains her sudden move last December to Nashville, birthplace of the vintage country music she grew up idolizing, and echoing, on 2011’s “Little Red Boots” and her new Music-Row-tracked “Cigarettes & Truckstops.”

“It’s one thing to have an appreciation  for country and those heroes from a distance,” says the longtime Patsy Cline-Hank Williams acolyte, whose own retro style – on display in San Francisco Monday night – feels like a punk-adrenalized hybrid of the two legends.

“But true appreciators really want to be immersed into the air those performers breathed and the places they went. So relocating to Nashville was that kind of thing for me – like a historical survey, a way for me to really get an understanding of the music that I loved.”

The city adored the transplant right back. In old publishing-house tradition, she began co-writing with some of Nashville’s finest composers, like ex-Civil Wars bandleader John Paul White.

With T-Bone Burnett associate Colin Linden producing, Ortega conjured up smoky Southern Gothic visions in “Murder of Crows,” “Demons Don’t Get me Down” and the hoedown “The Day You Die,” the new single, which she sang in a nightclub scene on the TV show “Nashville.”

The program already had used two Ortega songs in various episodes when she got the cameo invite. “They called me up one day and said ‘How would you feel about being on “Nashville” and actually performing as yourself?’ And I was like ‘awesome!’” she says.

She didn’t get to meet series stars Connie Britton or Hayden Panetierre, but she hung around with co-stars Claire Bowen and Jonathan Jackson, whose guitarist character Avery – after losing his club slot – snarls “Lindi Ortega?! Is there a gig in town they haven't gotten lately?”

The appearance worked wonders. Sales of “The Day You Die” skyrocketed the next day, and Ortega’s Twitter and FaceBook accounts instantly sparked to fan-frenzied life.

Her look and hairstyle – once Dogpatch-Goth – have softened accordingly. “It’s more cowgirl now,” she says.

The biggest irony? When Ortega first relocated, she had no idea that a drama about her favorite showbiz mecca was even in the works. “So it all just came together for me after I got here,” she says. “Nothing but great things have been happening since I moved to Nashville.”

IF YOU GO
Lindi Ortega
Where: Acoustic Bistro at Osteria Restaurant, 3277 Sacramento St., S.F.
When: 7 p.m. Monday
Tickets: Free; reservations recommended
Contact: (415) 771-5030; www.osteriasf.com

artsentertainmentlindi ortegamusicPop Music & Jazz

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Giants second baseman Donovan Solano scores on a double in the seventh inning against the Dodgers at Oracle Park on July 29. (Chris Victorio/Special to The Examiner)
Will the Giants make the playoffs? Kris Bryant may be the answer

By Chris Haft Special to The Examiner You’d be hard-pressed to find… Continue reading

Tiffany Carter, owner of Boug Cali West Coast Creole Shack in San Francisco’s La Cocina Marketplace, was dismayed by gentrification she found when she returned to her hometown to start a business. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
SF Black Wallstreet: Helping residents build wealth, reclaim spaces they’ve had to leave

Tiffany Carter moved back to her hometown of San Francisco five years… Continue reading

A prescribed fire at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks was conducted in June 2016 to reduce hazardous fuel loading, increase watershed health, and restore the natural fire cycle in the Redwood Canyon area ecosystem. (Photo courtesy Rebecca Paterson/National Park Service)
Experts, UC scientists discuss wildfires in the state’s riskiest regions

Wildfires are nothing new in California’s history, but the magnitude and frequencies… Continue reading

Fourth-grade students at Lucerne Valley Elementary School don masks and Western wear for a “Walk Through California” history day during in-person instruction. (Courtesy of Krystal Nelson)
Confusion over mask mandate for California schools sparks tension between districts and parents

By Diana Lambert EdSource Shifting rules around mask mandates at schools are… Continue reading

In his extensive filming of The City during the pandemic, Eric Goodfield said he has been “observing how the environment affects the behavior of people.” (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Filmmaker Eric Goodfield fixes lens on SF’s COVID days

140 days of shooting in The City made for ‘greatest adventure’

Most Read