Published Mar 17, 2017On her new four-track EP 'Til the Going Gets Gone, Lindi Ortega demonstrates she's learned how to constrain her previous excesses in ways that deepen and strengthen her songs. This includes piano playing that evokes John Cale, and a wide range of guitar, including some evocatively lonesome pedal steel by Robby Turner.
The stories here are mostly ones of desire and heartbreak. "What a Girl's Gotta Do," perhaps the only good song about stripping from a country artist (I am including Jason Aldean's "Black Tears" and Kenny Chesney's "Dancin' for the Groceries"), is a tale of economic survival without shame, and has a swing in the music conveying that of the subject's hips.
This acknowledgement of economic isolation is followed by a harrowing cover of Townes Van Zandt's prison lament, "Waiting Around to Die." Instead of playing around with ideas of sadness, she doubles down on the feelings themselves.
Ortega's got a knack for redeeming songs, lines and musical ideas that could be hackneyed, silly or camp in another artist's hands; for example, Ortega is the only performer that I know that can sell the phrase, "Late night pony prancing." If only there were a few more chances for her to do that here. (Last Gang)