Michelle Noftall's new album has its roots in a family love story

Michelle Noftall’s second solo album, Roots in the Water, is a concept album which digs into an extraordinary tale from Noftall’s family history.

Have a First Listen to Michelle Noftall's album, Roots in the Water

Michelle Noftall says as she was researching her great-grandfather's story, the songs for Roots in the Water came quite easily to her. (Courtesy Michelle Noftall)

Michelle Noftall's second solo album, Roots in the Water, is a concept album which digs into an extraordinary tale from Noftall's family history.  

"My great-grandfather, James Inniss, was a stowaway from Barbados," said Noftall.  

"He arrived in Fortune around 1900, and he stayed there."

In researching more about her great-grandfather's story, Noftall learned that Inniss was biracial, and about 14 years old when he boarded a ship in Barbados that eventually pulled into port in Fortune, on the Burin Peninsula.

James and Nancy Inniss were Michelle Noftall's great-grandfather and great-grandmother. (Courtesy Michelle Noftall)

There, Inniss fell in love with and eventually married Nancy Lake, a young woman from a prominent family in Fortune.

Together, they raised seven children, including Noftall's grandfather.

Inspired by their love

Noftall said as she was researching her great-grandfather's story, the songs for Roots in the Water came quite easily to her.

She said that the story of James Inniss appears to have a happy ending.  

"His marriage to Nancy was sustaining through a lot," said Noftall.

"I like to think it was the acceptance in the community and the love that he found."

Have a listen to Michelle Noftall's conversation with Weekend AM host Heather Barrett.

Singer/songwriter Michelle Noftall tells Weekend AM about her great grandfather's extraordinary story, and how it inspired her album, Roots in the Water. 19:10

Do you have a new album of music that Weekend AM should know about for First Listen? Email us wam@cbc.ca and tell us about it.

You can hear First Listen Sundays on Weekend AM from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. (5:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. in most of Labrador) on CBC Radio One.  

About the Author

Heather Barrett

CBC

Heather Barrett is the host and producer of Weekend AM on CBC Radio One in Newfoundland and Labrador.