Cedric Noel Bar Robo, Ottawa ON, February 2

Cedric Noel Bar Robo, Ottawa ON, February 2
Photo: Kamara Morozuk
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There's a vast amount of singer songwriters who play stripped-down sets armed only with an electric guitar. The approach is well-worn, and anyone who follows in that direction runs the very real risk of flirting with cliché. Yet, there was something very pure and honest about Cedric Noel's performance on Thursday (February 2) that demonstrated he knew he was walking that line finely.
 
Noel began his set alone, but was soon joined by another guitarist, and suddenly the simplicity of his stripped-down arrangements, just voice and guitar, became more complex. The melodies themselves remained simple in nature, but had a twisting undercurrent of complementary guitar lines. Noel's voice is a very delicate thing, sometimes sounding thin or slightly off-key, but it's those characteristics that really underpin the emotional pull of his songs.
 
Noel remarked at the end of his set that he was fascinated by imperfections, especially with the human voice, and it was hard to not think he was speaking about his own. Imperfect it may be, but Noel certainly knows how to use it.