With the release of her 2011 album Little Red Boots, one particularly erudite reviewer (OK, it was me) referred to Ortega as “Canada’s best-kept country secret”. And not much has happened since to change that.
Except that Ortega is now settled in Nashville, and while that 2011 album came on like Dolly does rockabilly, Tin Star gives it the full “Rawhide”.
Her voice is still a tremulous weapon of power and glory with a vulnerable vibrato for good measure. “Oh, you don’t know me/ I’m a nobody …/ No name in lights/ No sold out nights …” she sings with a warble on the title track. Truth is, the release of Tin Star should set Ortega’s adopted home town alight. That it probably won’t, is more Nashville’s problem than hers. Simmy Richman