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Eight-year journey

Sierra Noble bounces from New York to Nashville and back to Winnipeg on her latest record

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 1/4/2017 (1200 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Albums often function as a snapshot of a period of time — a breakup, a makeup, a change in location or mindset, or both.

Fort Winnipeg singer-songwriter Sierra Noble, her newest effort feels more like a scrapbook, each song a glimpse into a moment of her life between the years of 2008 and 2016.

The eight years between the release of her EP Possibilities and her new record, City of Ghosts, were formative ones — life changes a lot between the ages of 18 and 26 for most people, and Noble had penned dozens of songs cataloguing her experiences.

With the help of producer Murray Pulver, she pared down her selections to just 10 tracks, adding an 11th at the last minute.

"I think I just kind of looked at all these songs — Murray and I did this together — and we let the ones that wanted to be on the record be on it and let it be very organic," Noble says of the process.

"I just turned 27 and that’s a big point of change in most people's lives, so it’s like, ‘Huh, I was this person for the last 25 years or so and now I’m a totally different human,’ and I’m feeling that reflects in my music as well."

During those eight years, Noble took up residence in both New York City and Nashville, spending just over two years in each locale, working on her songcraft and getting inspired by the changes of scenery. Both cities provided something different — she fell in and out of love with New York and its intensity and experienced Nashville at a time of change in the Music City; an influx of artists from all genres living there shifted the dynamic from strictly country to something much more eclectic.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>Winnipeg singer-songwriter Sierra Noble headlines the Mother's Day edition of the Sunday Brunch Collective May 14.</p></p></p>

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Winnipeg singer-songwriter Sierra Noble headlines the Mother's Day edition of the Sunday Brunch Collective May 14.

"It’s a really neat constant flow of energy," Noble says of Nashville. "It was an exciting time to be there. I learned a lot and discovered a lot about myself and my music."

Ultimately, though, Noble knew she had to return to her hometown to record City of Ghosts — she had tried to record twice before, once in Nashville and once in New York, but something just wasn’t working.

"It was like, ‘What’s going on here? What needs to happen that I’m not really allowing to happen?’ And I think it was just that I needed to come home and reconnect with my city and the people who really formed me as a musician, which were all the musicians that played on this record," she says.

Noble says she’s "definitely already on a road of massive changes as an artist" since the release of City of Ghosts last year, and explains that while she is writing new music for her solo career, she’s excited about a new, stripped-down acoustic project she and a musician friend from New York have been working on called Beyond Hope. There’s no release date yet, but a collection of songs have been recorded and Noble hopes to have them out soon.

But, before that happens, Noble will be the next performer at the Winnipeg Free Press Sunday Brunch Collective, which takes place on Mother’s Day, May 14, at Kitchen Sync in the Exchange, with seatings at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. She will be joined by Haitia, the duo project of Dana Waldie and Avery Penner, who are part of the Winnipeg Folk Festival’s Stingray Young Performer’s Program.

erin.lebar@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @NireRabel

Erin Lebar

Erin Lebar
Multimedia producer

Erin Lebar is a multimedia producer who spends most of her time writing music- and culture-related stories for the Arts & Life section. She also co-hosts the Winnipeg Free Press's weekly pop-culture podcast, Bury the Lede.

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