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Apparently country is music is dead. Well nobody told Lindi Ortega that and she is single headedly making country music cool again.

Having toured as a backing singer with Kevin Costner and more recently Brandon Flowers, Ortega is known as Toronto’s best kept secret.
After ten years, she was picked up by Last Gang records and is now releasing her debut album Little Red Boots this month.

Little Red Boots is a gem packed full of songs about love, loss and despair.

Ortega’s voice is delightfully reminiscent of some of country music’s finest from Dolly Parton to Johnny Cash. She has the ability to transport you to Nashville’s Broadway, clicking your cowboy boots as you walk.

Highlight of the album has to be Dying of a Broken Heart which is so haunting it’s very hard to forget. It’s almost as if Ortega is tearing her heart out at every word. Singing “I don’t believe in fairytales, I don’t believe in fate.” We see Ortega’s bitterness and disillusion with love and happy endings.

There is a less serious side to the album with the cheerful Little Red Boots and I’m No Elvis Presley which instantly makes you want to walk the streets of Nashville’s Broadway and start dancing in your cowboy boots.

What’s clear about Little Red Boots is that Ortega is a natural story teller, from the cheerful to the gritty. She manages to shine through the darkness and makes the album a successful book of stories.

So is country music dead? With Lindi Ortega around that certainly is not the case. Keep an aye out as she heads for our shores reviving country music for all of us.

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After what can only be described as a triumphant set at Glastonbury, U2 were ready to rejoin their final leg of the US tour. While the band were headlining the pyramid stage, people had begun to queue in Nashville for a concert that was going to happen days later.

U2 had only played Nashville once before on the Joshua Tree, when they were starting to turn into the massive band that they are now. There was a lot of anticipation for this gig, people had waited for over 20 years for the band to return and now it was actually happening. the venue was vanderbuilt University stadium, the same venue they had played on their debut performance in Nashville. According to a local, they had wanted to play a bigger venue that belonged to the Tennesee Titans however the Titans declined as they didn’t want their pitch ruined. Honestly I am thankful, it was the smallest venue I had seen the band play in for years, it seems fitting that their most intimate gig would be in Nashville.

And so on a hot Summer’s evening, the familiar Space Odyssey starts to play and the lights dim. the crowd are about to be treated to one of the biggest shows on earth. Starting with Even Better Than The Real Thing, the crowd are captivated as the claw comes to life and those mega Irish rockers go straight into the hits, following on with The Fly and Mysterious Ways. It is almost the same set as Glastonbury, but in this case, the crowd had already been won over.

There can’t really be a gig in Nashville without paying tribute to Johnny Cash and tonight, Bono pays a fitting tribute by performing The Wanderer, a song the band have never performed live before. It is beautiful and the crowd are loving it. there have been a couple of gigs that I have been to where Bono’s voice hasn’t been the best but tonight it is ultimate perfection. there’s a big cheer as he finishes the song and talks about the time he spent with Johnny and June.

Surprise songs included Miss Sarajevo which was highly impressive, everyone whooping and cheering as Bono hits those high notes and of course the oh so beautiful Stay which almost acts as a nice intermission between all of the energetic, well known hits.

They return to the stage and start with a snippet of Amazing Grace. as a visitor in  this part of the world it felt amazing to be stood in a stadium with 40,000 Americans singing their heart out. In my mind, there was no where else I would rather be.

The band then hit us with ‘with or without you’. when they play that song you know the gig is coming to a close. It always gets me when you heard everyone singing along to the ohs at the end. Bono and co feel this too as they all look like they don’t want to leave.

Just as you think it’s over, you see Bono point at someone in the crowd and ask “what do you want to play?” and yes for all those u2 haters it sounds hillarious but Bono gets a blind man up onstage. Apparently he wants to sing a song for his wife Andrea. the rest of the band have already gone offstage but come back looking somewhat bemused. The man is given bono’s guitar to play and so he starts to strum. Bono gets him to keep going and so he begins to sing along, Larry gets back on the drums and Adam puts his bass back on and the audience are treated to all I want is you by u2 and their special guest with his face beaming. The song finishes and bono shocks everyone by saying to him “you can keep the guitar.”

And so the night ends with that really, what an amazing band, what an amazing crowd and what an amazing town. The band give one final wave and promise they won’t leave it long until they are back again. And this time, no one seems to doubt them.

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