Lizzie No Free at Noon - 3.22.2024

The rising star Lizzie No makes heartfelt, often heartbreaking folk music that blurs the lines between classic and contemporary. Halfsies, her most recent record, amplifies her sound with booming drums and jolting guitar. On the World Cafe Live stage, the New York singer-songwriter traded off between guitar and harp. She was joined by just two bandmates: impressive acoustic guitarist John Calvin Abney and multi-talented keyboardist Josh Cournoyer.  The result was a quiet yet totally captivating Free at Noon, occurring just hours before No retook the stage for an evening headlining show.

“I’m absolutely radiating with excitement”, No told the crowd early on. “I’m a Jersey girl! This is my home station.” Her charisma and charming banter hooked the audience but her songs stunned the room silent. “Lagunita,” an electrifying song about grief and secrets, is one of the grander songs on Halfsies but it was a particular highlight to hear in this stripped-down setting. This was the perfect space for No’s intimate songwriting and vocals, which can move between casually conversational and gorgeously crushing. “Sleeping in the Next Room” was another standout, with its cutting chorus: “You’re sleeping in the next room, I’m falling out of love.” As No tuned in preparation for the song, she noted “I think a lot about how capitalism is so violent in so many ways” particularly in its limit on allowing working people to “have the freedom to make choices.”

“I’ve been playing alternative country music since long before people admitted black people even did that,” No told the crowd. The debate over who country music is by and for is hardly new, but it’s always been deeply personal to No, a queer black woman who has often been labeled as R&B even though her music does not pull from that genre. She recounted the experience of hearing A&R executives tell her that country radio would never support her music. That story inspired a song, in which she sings of leaving Nashville for Memphis and defiantly repeats the words “I think I’m gonna be someone.” Discussions about country and race were re-ignited by the announcement of Beyonce’s Cowboy Carter, which drops next week. No shouted out the superstar’s forthcoming project and spotlighted another artist, Julie Williams, with her T-shirt.

No concluded the show with an encore, which she announced by saying “it is my religious belief to send you out with a breakup song.” If you missed her Free at Noon show, you can catch Lizzie No performing at the XPoNential Music Festival in September; tickets here.

Lizzie No
Free At Noon
  • Mourning Dove Waltz
  • Annie Oakley
  • Lagunita
  • Babylon
  • Sleeping In The Next Room
  • Memphis In The Morning
  • Getaway Car
  • Heartbreak Store