“I’m gonna be a megaphone, telling everybody how you did me wrong, the only switch that I got is on,” Lindsay Ell repeats in the breakdown of her latest single, “Shut Me Up.” It’s a sharp contrast to the Canadian guitar goddess up-and-comer’s carefree, puppy love-struck 2013 debut, “Trippin’ on Us,” which boasted the opening line, “goodbye heartache, catch you on another day.”
Well that other day has arrived, as on “Shut Me Up,” love is on the rocks and Ell, jilted, is hellbent on letting the world know. But she doesn’t sound like she’s having any less fun shouting her two-timing ex-lover’s transgressions from the rooftops. Despite imagery of truths that won’t be duck-taped shut and sirens that won’t be unplugged — lyrics courtesy of Grammy winning songwriters Zach Crowell, Brett James and Hillary Lindsey — like “Trippin’,” “Shut Up”‘s sultry stanzas and slinky blues licks wrap around a swaggering four-on-the-floor groove fit for a country-rock stadium anthem.
“I think fans just like people when they’re real; they like artists when they’re real, and they can see this is what you love to do and this is who you are,” Ell tells Rolling Stone Country.
The singer-guitarist (and John Mayer and Keith Urban devotee) cites similar influences the likes of guitar idols Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton (“Growing up, I would listen to them on repeat”) and fellow Canuck Shania Twain (“Growing up, [she] was my idol.”)
Ell says her musical chops inform her tunes and communicate her identity as much as any lyrical sentiment.
“I definitely start from more of a musical standpoint,” she explains. “I usually start writing with a guitar riff and an idea, and the rest of the song comes together after that.… I love the fact that I play guitar because it gives me another medium to connect with an audience.”