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Tag: Lindi Ortega (1-2 of 2)

The 10 Best Country Albums of 2013

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It’s tough to say what constitutes a country album these days. 2013 was a year that saw arena-filling acts feud over pop’s influence in the genre, Nashville stars record with Norwegian pop Svengalis, and a country-rap collaboration become the longest-running No. 1 country hit of all time. Ten gallon hats and Wrangler jeans now feel out of place in a sea of trucker caps and wallet chains.

Plus, the rise of Americana, a somewhat amorphous genre that’s not considered fully folk, fully rock, or fully pop — but one that shares so many roots (and so much instrumentation) with county music — has further blurred the lines. Much of what we call “Americana” or “singer-songwriter” today falls more into the classic “country” category in storytelling and song structure than the pop-infused output of Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton, or certainly Taylor Swift.

In short, the genre is something of a mess right now. It’s telling that the country format is both more popular and more criticized than it has been in decades. I spent quite a bit of time this year writing about country’s problems (the aforementioned feuds, the lazy lyrics, the lack of women on the radio) but even so, I’m happy to report that there was great music to be found. A lot of it. Music that has me hopeful for 2014. Some mainstream albums broke the mold, and more than a few shining stars from Nashville’s fringes made a major impression.

So, taking all of that into account — and taking into account that we all might have different definitions of what constitutes a country album — here are my picks for the genre’s ten best discs this year. (Spoiler alert: Luke Bryan, Tyler Farr, Justin Moore, Jake Owen, and Thomas Rhett definitely didn’t make the cut.) READ FULL STORY

Lindi Ortega's 'Tin Star' is the album that country music needs

For a moment, forget about country music’s civil war. Forget about the trucks and the beers and the cliche-riddled writing that’s plaguing the genre. Forget about the fact that breakthrough female stars are about as common as pictures of Kenny Chesney without his hat. Do your best to ignore those sad realities and listen up.

Lindi Ortega has just released her fifth full-length album, Tin Star, and it’s one of the very finest albums of the year in any genre. And in this writer’s opinion, it’s the best country album of 2013.

Who’s Lindi Ortega? She’s a Canadian singer-songwriter (and former backup singer for The Killers’ Brandon Flowers) who’s currently breaking the status quo in Nashville. She’s a red-boot-stompin’ porcelain gypsy with nails dipped in poison and a voice coated in honey. She can cut you open with her fiery rasp and soothe your wounds with a delicate coo. She is fearsome, rebellious, Gothic, and sweet, and her passion courses through her aching melodies. She rips out her voodoo-needled heart and throws it onto the stage for all to see. READ FULL STORY

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