Canadian roots chanteuse Lindi Ortega gives fair warning: "Don't come any closer to my heart / If you're afraid of the dark." However, that shroud is slowly lifted on Liberty. As the narrative unfolds in this concept album, a central character emerges – one who finally sheds the darkness of her past and emerges into the light. As melodies and tempos change throughout, her journey carries her steadily forward. Listen closely and you'll find Ortega's experiences in the lyrics too.
The melodies and arrangements of Liberty draw on the epic work of Oscar-winning composer Ennio Morricone, who became one of Ortega's musical obsessions during the writing and recording of Liberty. Moreover she enlisted Nashville producer Skylar Wilson (Justin Townes Earle, Rayland Baxter) when she discovered their shared passion for Quentin Tarantino movies. During the sessions at Battle Tapes studio in East Nashville, Ortega and Wilson scaled back the boot-stomping, throwback country approach that she's known for, instead polishing a set of music that reflects her Mexican/Irish lineage. The sonic landscape of Liberty is enhanced by Nashville band Steelism, known for their dramatic blend of pedal steel guitar and electric guitar, as well as Country Music Hall of Fame member Charlie McCoy on harmonica.
As the album progresses, the listener gets the sense that the protagonist is leaving behind her past, whether it's a crowd of unsavory characters in "You Ain't Foolin' Me" or perhaps a lost love from childhood in "Until My Dying Day." Grief turns to desperation in "Nothing's Impossible" and "The Comeback Kid." The tides begin to turn on "Darkness Be Done." About halfway through, with "Forever Blue," the character makes a choice to follow the light. Meanwhile the song "Pablo" is inspired by her new husband, Daniel Huscroft. With a lilting melody and clever lyrics, "Lovers in Love" showcases Ortega's skillful songwriting. Ortega concludes the album with "Gracia a la Vida" from the pen of Chilean composer Violeta Parra. The title translates as "Thank You to Life."