Like many up-and-coming singer-songwriters, Leah Nobel plants her base of operations out of Nashville, though with the added incentive of being one of Big Yellow Dog Music’s consummate staff songwriters. Given the benefits of such a signing, one has got to assume that this isn’t just an indie artist who’s budding, but who’s in a full-blown bloom. If this much hasn’t been proven with the awards she has already received for her work from the Indie International and John Lennon songwriting competitions, let alone global synchs with the likes of Starbucks and Cinemax, perhaps her latest project will turn you towards her musical gifts.
Running in Borrowed Shoes is the name of the alternative folk artist’s ambitious venture, in which she first hits the streets and engages with 100 individuals of varying backgrounds in interviews to garner scintillating information about their life to transform into song. The latest of these songs to be released as a part of this project is “Strawberry Fields”. Nobel describes the track below.
“This song is inspired by the stories of two senior citizens — one 74, and the other 85 — that I interviewed about what it felt like to live in the South during the Civil Rights Movement. One senior worked in agriculture and often spent days in the fields picking cotton and strawberries alongside a diverse group of workers. He would pick the workers up in the morning in his truck and no one would really talk to each other. But once they were in the fields, everybody would start singing together — popular songs from the 60s that everyone knew. He remembers this moment being very special and unifying and a bright light during a time when racial tension was heavy. The chorus is from his perspective.
The verses are based on the second story from my interviews, from an African-American woman who at one time (later in life) was Rosa Park’s roommate. She told me a memory that she had- a couple days after buses were desegregated in the 50s her and her friend got on the bus and sat in the first row behind the bus driver. He asked them to move and they ignored him. Because they knew they were allowed to sit there now. Her face lit up when she told me this story- that was a very satisfying and triumphant moment for her.
‘Strawberry Fields’ is a place where we can exist in peace together, regardless of our differences. Togetherness can be anchored by finding common ground — in this case, music.”