Watch Lindsay Ell’s Masterful One-Woman Performance of ‘Criminal’
As the newest Taste of Country RISER of 2018, Lindsay Ell recently delivered an original performance of her hit "Criminal" that showcases the control, versatility and raw talent that has made her one of country music's most promising up-and-comers. Press play above to watch the performance.
In just one take, Ell layers guitarwork, beatboxing and vocals into a spellbinding rendition of the song, adding effortless guitar solos as she sings. According to Taste of Country, Ell wrote "Criminal" long before any of the other tracks on her debut album, The Project, but the song has held up as one of the album's highest points. Through an intense learning process and professional transformation, helped by the guidance of Sugarland member Kristian Bush, Ell matured as an artist, and the song matured along with her.
One product of that transformation was The Continuum Project, Ell's interpretation of the 2006 John Mayer album Continuum. In what began as a homework assignment from Bush, Ell re-recorded Mayer's record alone in the studio, paying strict attention to each aspect of the process. "[Bush] gave me three rules: I needed to play all the instruments myself, I needed to record it alone in my studio, and I had two weeks," Ell says in a press release.
The homework paid off: Ell performs with the self-assuredness of a seasoned musician, and she tells Taste of Country that that confidence applies to her songwriting, too.
"I'll say, over the past couple of years, I've gotten good at writing from my own life and writing from my own experiences, because I feel as an artist I can sing them easier, and fans believe me when they know it's real," she explains. "I feel like, going through heartbreak in my personal life, I am a lot more fearless about what I do musically.
Ell joins Devin Dawson, who gave a special performance of "Asking for a Friend" in March, in the 2018 class of Taste of Country RISERS. She will be on tour with Sugarland throughout the summer, and is also set to join Keith Urban for a run of Canadian dates in the fall of 2018.
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