Lindsay Ell’s 5 Best Songs Spotlight Her Guitar Skills
Lindsay Ell can do it all: write, play several instruments, perform and produce.
This Canadian artist began playing piano at age six before moving to the guitar at age eight, and these days, she's a master. At age 10, she began to write her own music before gravitating toward bluegrass, country and blues.
Ell met her mentor, Randy Bachman, at age 13, when she began to heavily study the guitar. She soon became a guitarist who can rival the best of them, and keep up with both country artists and musicians from other genres. Ell studied business at the University of Calgary and music at the Berklee College of Music, all while pursuing her career.
Ell's first official single, "Trippin' on Us," which she released in December of 2013, was the most added song in country music radio in her home country of Canada and the United States when it first dropped. She later signed with Broken Bow Records' Stoney Creek Records, and released her debut full-length album, The Project, in August of 2017. That record debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Country Album Sales chart.
Ell has worked and recorded with Brantley Gilbert, Keith Urban, the Vamps, Bobby Bones, Paul Brandt and Tim Hicks, to name a few, and her musicianship transcends genres. Her Top 5 songs give consideration to radio success, fan impressions, concert reactions and Taste of Country staff opinions.
"By the Way"Single (2015)
Ell quite literally flipped the usual breakup song script from sad to empowering. She shows off her musicianship in this song by playing the electric guitar, acoustic guitar, mandolin and ganjo.
“Shania Twain was such an idol of mine growing up ... and Sheryl Crow and Bonnie Raitt and all of these strong women," Ell tells Rolling Stone of the inspiration behind the song. "All of their music and songs said something. So I remember that day being like, ‘I wanna write music that says something.’ One of those songs where girls can be like, ‘I know what that feels like. I’ve been there.’ Not every relationship needs to be sad and down in the dumps after it. You learn from it. You learn what you want and what you don’t want, and you move forward.”
"Waiting on You"'The Project' (2017)
"Waiting on You" was the song that kickstarted Ell's album, The Project. "My producer, Kristian Bush, and I were listening through music and listening to a bunch of songs, and the minute he heard 'Waiting on You,' he was like, 'This is where we start,'" she tells iHeartRadio. "It has a little bit of blues, a little bit of rock and roll, a lot of country. It was the start of the chapter."
"Shut Me Up"Single (2014)
For anyone who has ever been cheated on, this song is for you. Ell does not let the act happen quietly, and refuses to be silenced.
"As a female songwriter, I walk that line between not being too abrasive, but still being strong as a girl, and not being too victim, but kind of morphing all those wheels together," she tells SongFacts.
"What Happens in a Small Town" (with Brantley Gilbert)'Fire & Brimstone' (2019)
In this epic country-rock power ballad, Ell and Gilbert make the perfect duet partners. Gilbert became a fan of Ell once he saw her perform at the Grand Ole Opry, when he was taking his wife and brother-in-law to see the show and she happened to be playing that night -- and thus, that chance encounter birthed a chart-topping collaboration.
"Criminal"'The Project' (2017)
Ell's most popular song yet almost had a different title: "It was, like, 'Plane to Boston,'" Ell tells Taste of Country. "I had that guitar lick idea first, and then we had portions of the verse ... and we had fragments of the chorus, but we did not come up with the title 'Criminal' until the very end. And then it was like, 'Well, what else will rhyme with 'Criminal'?"
The song reached No. 1 on the Canadian Country airplay chart. It was the first single by a solo female artist to reach the peak position since 2008, when Terri Clark did so with "In My Next Life."