Nora O’Connor

Nora O'Connor - til the dawn
Nora O’Connor is a gifted singer/song writer from Chicago.  While the majority of her musical contributions have been on other people’s albums she managed to put out an album of her own in 2004.  Prior to her own album’s release she had performed with dozens of other acts at both live sessions and on various recordings.  Since 2004 she has kept busy by playing with countless more.  As a result of her being such a “musician’s musician” she has garnered much critic acclaim even with only a single LP release under her belt.  From what I understand her skills are in demand with number of her comrades looking for her abilities to round out their sound both live and in the record studio.

I discovered Nora O’Connor’s album because I’m a big fan of the fellow that plays fiddle on a few of the tracks, Andrew Bird.  I really hadn’t heard the album at all but I knew it had to be good if Bird was involved and I was happy to see that I was correct.  At it’s core Nora O’Connor’s album “Til the Dawn” is country music(I think alt-country technically) but this is a different kind of country music than the stuff coming out of Nashville.  The biggest difference being Nora’s voice.  The songs are generally slow paced, it’s not a album to rock out to.  If I had to pin this album to a social situation, perhaps a new mother pondering the loss of her single life in the midst of the turmoil that comes along with a new child, it’s got sad yet hopeful undertones.  “Life can be a drag but I’m gonna make the best of it”, is the theme I hear between the notes.  Although no one else may hear that.

Nora herself is quite an interesting character and has definitely made some unique choices about the direction of her life.  In short she’s been a bartender, midwife’s assistant and ordained reverend.  I won’t dwell on those topics as many of her commentators seem to when Nora O’Connor comes up.  Let’s just say that she is without a doubt a women of substance.  For someone who’s new to county music and finds the twangy stuff intimidating Nora’s album is a fantastic place to start.  It’s got some twang but it’s note a twang over load, Nora’s voice may sound slightly country-esk but just slightly, it’s the soulful moderation that is key.

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