Looking at Lindi Ortega — a ruby-lipped, raven-haired beauty who you’ll often as not see with a red rose in her hair and invariably wearing her trademark red boots — you could be forgiven for thinking that the alternative country singer-songwriter hails from south of the border. In fact, you need to look north, to the city of Toronto, where she was born and raised. Her heritage, though, does lie south, and east, too. She’s the only daughter of immigrant parents, a Mexican father and an Irish mother. And she locates many of her musical influences in those two sources.
“My dad was a bass player in a Latino band,” Ortega says the day after a show in Toronto (which is now her former hometown; she decamped to Nashville last December). “He’s the person who taught me how to play the first few chords on guitar, and I think a lot of my rhythmic style of playing is from that influence, from hearing that growing up.” The effect extends a larger aesthetic that’s evident in her music and presentation.