Thursday, March 22, 2018


I know everybody's down on Facebook these days, selling off our personal info to Russians or Trump or the Illuminati, and being full of fake news that gets us all riled up and voting for right-wing, pro-cannibals. That's all true (ish) but if it's truly bugging you and you want to log off and live in the woods with no computer and indoor plumbing, let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater just yet. Howz about we all stop using it for say, just news (easily manipulated) and instead use it for good and truth and beauty and art? For instance, here I was just yesterday, checking out a live show by a musician I knew but had never had the chance to see live before. Very handy, this Facebook Live thing. A Winnipeg group called The Village Idiots have a weekly show Live At The Roslyn each Wednesday night that features a different local group in concert. That let me look in on singer-songwriter Sierra Noble, whose 2016 album City Of Ghosts I found intriguing and surprising.

I can remember Noble when she was starting out as a kid fiddler, but along the way she moved into songwriting, guitar and has become a first-class vocalist and performer. Two years in Nashville and another two in New York City happened, but she moved back home with all that experience, and a parcel of good songs from it as well. On stage she presented a powerful set of originals with sharp, insightful lyrics, some from City Of Ghosts, and a couple of brand-new ones that even stronger. One as-yet unnamed tune she explained came from the scary, changed world for someone who is single, the risks that are out there. That left me looking forward to her next one.

But for now, City Of Ghosts still sounds sharp and full. Her fiddle still appears, every few songs on stage, and as a mood-maker on several songs, including album-opener Be Who You Be, with an Eastern feel not unlike Robert Plant's recent albums. There's strength throughout in the lyrics, including a farewell song, Breaking Up With New York City, really a love song. Kiss Me Like You Mean It is a break-up song, but one that takes strength from it: "So let's drink our cheap red wine, and pay our last regrets/Push our hands in concrete and split a cigarette." Rebel Song has a pointed message for the corrupt and powerful who take greed too far: "Music never dies/but kings do every day."

I had heard the album before, but the live performance of several of these songs made it all hit home stronger. So I'll salute Facebook, and remind all it's okay to use - with caution.

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