Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

City musician to open for icon

Noble thrilled to warm up for McCartney

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A few weeks ago, Winnipeg musician Sierra Noble was speaking to a friend who mentioned he had scored tickets to Paul McCartney's July 11 show in Halifax.

"Aw, I wish I could see that show, it would be so awesome," the fiddler remembers telling her friend.

"You don't need to go to see the show, you'll be opening for him one day," her friend replied.

What Noble didn't know at the time was that McCartney had launched a search for a third opening act, and her name had been put forward by a couple of acquaintances working closely with the show.

A few tracks from Noble's recently released EP Possibilities were sent to McCartney and his manager -- and they apparently liked what they heard.

"I had no idea and then they just called me and were like, 'You're opening for Paul McCartney,' and I was like, 'What?' and I started freaking out," Noble said when reached by phone in her Halifax hotel.

"I just love playing music, and I hope people like my music, but I don't ever expect things like this to happen to me. There's so many incredibly talented people out there that are admittedly way more talented than me."

Noble said Paul McCartney and the Beatles played a large role in her childhood, when she and her mother would take road trips each summer to Noble's birthplace, Ottawa.

"I would make mixed tapes of only the Beach Boys and the Beatles, and we'd listen to only the Beach Boys and the Beatles all the way to Ottawa from Winnipeg," she recalled.

Noble began playing the fiddle around the same time, embarking on what amounts to a rather full career for a 19-year-old.

Before McCartney and before Possibilities, Noble was a Manitoba junior fiddle champion and a recipient of the Queen's Golden Jubilee medal.

She missed chunks of her years at Gordon Bell High School to perform in faraway locations like Japan.

Despite her experience, Noble said she's still struggling to grasp the full implications of opening for a "true legend."

"I've been watching the stage go up and all the bleachers and trying to imagine 40,000 to 60,000 people piling in there and I'll be on the stage, just me and my guitar player."

The largest crowd she's played for to date was at the 90th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge in France, where she performed in front of a crowd of 25,000.

"That was unreal, so many people, but to try to imagine twice that many people is just crazy," she said.

As for what she'll say to McCartney when she finally meets the former Beatle -- well, Noble hasn't quite figured it out yet.

"I think I'll probably know when I get there," she said, laughing.

arielle.godbout@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 10, 2009 B2

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