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Nora O'Connor

Til The Dawn – 2004 (Bloodshot)

Reviewed by David McPherson

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CDs by Nora O'Connor

An Irish-American from the Windy City, Nora O'Connor sings with a lovely lilt to her voice that has hints of Nora Jones honey vocals and echoes of Canadian Jenny Whitely. Self-described as "a singing hired assassin," one listen through her Bloodshot debut, and one understands why she's been in such demand; her voice is a killer. Over the past six years, O'Connor has performed with Neko Case, The New Pornographers, Jeff Tweedy and Billy Corgan to name but a few. This is her first solo CD, and what a daring debut it is. Well-crafted lyrics and soulful songs showcase O'Connor's bubbling talent that is like a witches' cauldron that is almost ready to overflow, but keeps itself in check.

She covers Fleetwood Mac's "That's Alright" giving the Stevie Nicks number a honky-tonk reworking. One of the other standout tracks is her cover of Jim Mathus's (Squirrel Nut Zippers) "Bottoms," which O'Connor makes into a wistful country waltz. Other standouts are "Revolver" and the lovely rendition of Ketty Lester's "Love Letters," which sounds like Patsy Cline.

At only 9 songs and clocking it at just over 30 minutes, the only critique is that Til the Dawn is too short. With seductive and sleepy songs though, one can listen to the Celtic-country lilt of this songbird repeatedly all night long.