Lindi Ortega

Early Show

Lindi Ortega

Hugh Masterson

Thu, April 26, 2018

Doors: 6:30 pm

Mercury Lounge

New York, NY

$15.00

This event is 21 and over

Lindi Ortega
Lindi Ortega
When Lindi Ortega went in search of some quiet last year, the award-winning artist was pleasantly surprised to find a voice she hadn’t heard in some time – her own. Amid sparse, atmospheric production, it’s precisely this voice – a combination of Ortega’s fatalistic perspective expressed with her evocative soprano – that grips your attention on a brand new EP, Til The Goin’ Gets Gone.

A dogged resilience permeates this unadorned collection – three originals and a cover of Townes Van Zandt’s “Waiting ‘Round To Die.” The songs are the hard-won spoils of an internal war with words that struck after an extended stretch of touring, addressed in the EP’s title track about the detours and ditches that a traveling musician faces.

“What A Girl’s Gotta Do,” a song that is the silver lining of an otherwise dreadful date, explores the gritty pragmatism of making ends meet. Alongside the title track, this song offers a second metaphor about artistic life that strengthens the EP’s overall sense of resolve. Ortega’s somber rendition of “Waiting ‘Round to Die,” acknowledges a personal debt – her recent discovery of the legendary songwriter’s music is what finally cured her writer’s block. The closer, “Final Bow,” came when Ortega assumed she only had one song left in her. “I thought I had to quit music but I wanted to leave gracefully,” she says. “But then I decided to get up and sing some more.” As a whole, this statement captures the essence of Ortega’s new EP – it’s about dusting off, gutting it out, stepping up for another round.

Ortega recorded Til The Goin’ Gets Gone in a converted East Nashville manor, where therapy horses linger on the property. Recording with her longtime guitarist James Robertson, Ortega co-produced the set with Jay Tooke and Jason “Rowdy” Cope. The small production team and minimalist instrumentation make an intimate, immediate setting for Ortega’s stark vision of the human condition. Although classic country is an indelible part of her musical history, the EP also sets the tone for the next chapter of her career: “I’ll always love Loretta, Dolly and Patsy. But I just want more space. I want more ambiance.”

Ortega’s guitar-playing chops and innate country music instincts put her in an elite group of artists; she has earned an unusually inclusive type of success with both indie cred and mainstream country recognition. From supporting Carrie Underwood on the CMA Awards to her opening slot on Chris Stapleton’s recent Canadian arena tour, Ortega is a sought-after and unique personality in Nashville’s music community and beyond.
Hugh Masterson
Hugh Masterson
Lost + Found is an apt title for Hugh Masterson’s first solo effort, set for a June 2, 2017 release on Rock Ridge Music. The six songs cover a heartfelt journey through surviving loss and life changes while gaining self-awareness through experience. His self-deprecating way of viewing himself is endearing, and his songs are deeply personal. “I use songwriting as therapy,” he says. “I think other people will relate to these songs. Finding happiness daily is not an easy thing.”

Recorded at Key Club Recording Co. in Benton Harbor, Michigan, the album was co-produced by Masterson and Bill Skibbe, best known as engineer for The Black Keys, Dead Weather, The Kills, and many others. The duo succeeded in bringing Masterson’s own unique perspective to the Americana music he makes, his sound boasting a Midwestern bounce and jangle coupled with Nashville wail and grit. It’s easy, it’s familiar, it’s twangy-goodness, pedal-steel Southern rock; it’s a dusty ride down a road winding through rural Wisconsin or backwoods Tennessee.

Growing up in Butternut, Wisconsin, Masterson lived a very rural life in a tiny town: population (as of 2013) is 372. “There were no businesses, really, besides the gas station, a bakery, bars and taverns,” Masterson explains. “The bar was the meeting place. The parents would take the kids there so people could socialize and listen to whatever music was playing on the jukebox.” Their dad’s ultimate favorite was The Band, which was a constant in the Masterson household, along with the Beach Boys, Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones, along with John Hiatt and Lucinda Williams.

The first single, the title track “Lost + Found,” tells the story of Masterson getting mugged one night in Milwaukee. He was hit in the head with a tire iron and his jaw was broken in two places. I got beat up just walking around town/Hold my head up high still on the ground/ Don’t know why I came here/Don’t know what I’m fighting for. Masterson explains: “It’s about when you feel like you're not sure why things happen to you. You’re not sure how to navigate life the best way that you possibly can, because you're not seeing the signs that you need yet.”

Several years after the mugging, and following the death of his mother, Masterson made the move from Milwaukee to Nashville. Unbeknownst to him, this move would end up being the catalyst for the breakup of his band, Hugh Bob and the Hustle, who were starting to enjoy both industry and fan attention. Masterson was set on leaving Wisconsin while the rest of his band decided to stay put. “I had planned on moving to make a better opportunity for all of us,” Masterson says. “I just assumed everyone else was going to come with me… that was the plan. Then I got here and no one else showed up. Life changed.”

Masterson took quickly to the East Nashville music community, befriending a number of artists with whom he’s toured recently, such as The Lone Bellow, Margo Price, Nikki Lane, Anderson East and several others. Additionally, he’s drawn attention from the Americana Music Association, CMT, KCRW’s “Morning Becomes Eclectic,” Rolling Stone, World Café, and South by Southwest.

Even though he always felt music calling, Masterson is also a skilled woodworker, which is his creative and rewarding day job. “I’ve always liked working with my hands,” he explains. “Growing up where I did, if something broke, you fixed it. You figured it out somehow. I feel really calm when I have stuff to do with my hands.”

Masterson plans to hang up his woodworking tools long enough to hit the road to bring his intensely personal songs to a live audience later in the year. “Playing solo, I feel a responsibility to be captivating and keep people’s attention. I’m just trying to be entertaining, to have a decent message people can relate to, and to play good music.” With Lost + Found, Masterson is poised to achieve his goal of helping other people by sharing his own experiences. “I hope people can find something in these songs they can relate to, whether it be fun times or hardships.”
Venue Information:
Mercury Lounge
217 E Houston St.
New York, NY, 10002
http://mercuryloungenyc.com