Black Music Matters Festival

Lindi Ortega

Tennessee Christmas – 2011 (Last Gang)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

CDs by Lindi Ortega

Christmas can become an overblown extravaganza if we let it. Christmas music can also suffer the same sad fate if we're not careful. Lindi Ortega understands such tragic possibilities, which is why her "Tennessee Christmas" EP is such a delight. These four songs are all performed with acoustic simplicity, without any glitz or glamour.

The traditional Blue Christmas is performed with fiddle, mandolin, Dobro and acoustic guitar accompaniment. Christmas Carol tells the story of a young singer with the voice of an angel, using similar instrumentation. Ortega applies just a touch of jazz to her romantic vocal on Christmas Eve with You. For All I Want for Christmas, Lindi sings a banjo-propelled, bluegrass one-wish-wish-list, where all Ortega wants for Christmas is a cowboy.

However, as Christmas projects go, this is a memorable one. This is a Tennessee Christmas, after all, and not a citified Nashville celebration. Maybe next year we'll be able to spend a little more time with Lindi Ortega at Christmastime.