Lindi Ortega Cigarettes & Truckstops

Lindi OrtegaCigarettes & Truckstops
The singing voice owned and operated by Lindi Ortega could steal the attention of any man in the room, even more so than her looks or signature bright red boots. Until now, it's been the defining aspecg in her music, but on fourth album Cigarettes & Truckstops, it stops doing the heavy lifting. The album is her moment of evolution as a songwriter and lyricist, where that voice finally gets the tunes it's always deserved. For the first time, Ortega is working out of Nashville, Tennessee. With that, things could have gone wrong. Frequently indebted to the history of country music, Ortega risked submitting to the genre's clichés. But Cigarettes feels organic and effortless ― the simple-yet-stunning "Lead Me On" is her finest song yet. Its quivering evocation of love unreturned follows a familiar country pattern, but there's a reason that pattern has survived throughout the years. As Ortega demonstrates repeatedly, from her bitter bar tunes ("Don't Wanna Hear It") to her dark religious ballads ("Heaven Has No Vacancy"), one of the oldest pop music genres may yet live on for decades. (Last Gang)