Lindi Ortega: Shades of Grey

Lindi Ortega likes to collect animal skulls. She’s been picking them up in vintage stores across the South and dropping them off at her rented loft in Nashville, where she hopes to eventually display her stash without offending any landlords. “If I ever have a place of my own,” she promises, “I’ll cover a whole wall with different skulls, and I’ll hang crazy, velvet, Victorian wallpaper behind them.” That’s an unexpected admission for a singer whose new album, Cigarettes & Truckstops, channels the breathy coo of Dolly Parton and the sassy, slinky sway of Nancy Sinatra. Pretty and petite, Ortega looks and sounds like alt-country’s sweetest ingenue. There’s something dark about her music, though, something that lends an edge to her moody blend of old-school Americana, gospel, and haunted honky-tonk. “I really love Dia de los Muertos,” she explains, “where they celebrate the dead by dressing up and bringing candies to people’s graves. They take something that’s typically morbid and turn it into something colorful, something worth celebrating. Maybe that’s the reason I like Johnny Cash songs so much. “Folsom Prison Blues” has one of the most crushing lyrics of all time – “I shot a man in Reno, just…

To view this content,

Join Today

or Sign In

The Benefits of Membership:

  • Subscription to the American Songwriter Print Magazine
  • Access to all Feature Magazine Content Online
  • Access to Print Edition Archives
  • Premium content in our Songwriter U section
  • Discounts on vinyl, Songwriter services, and other American Songwriter Partners
  • Exclusive access to members-only contests and giveaways
Click to Join

We've started an American Songwriter membership! Click here to learn more.