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You might remember Nora O'Connor as a member of the Blacks (she sometimes went by the name Nora Black) or her appearances on-stage and on record with Andrew Bird, the New Pornographers, the Aluminum Group, Chris Mills, Otis Clay, or Mavis Staples. Folks in her native Chicago also know the talented singer/songwriter as a bartender, a midwife's assistant, and an ordained reverend. O'Connor's incredibly diverse life began in Chicago as a first-generation Irish-American with a father who would teach her all the Irish classics. She first came to the alternative country crowd's attention in 1994 when she joined the Blacks. She took a break from the band in 1996 and released her first solo album, Cerulean Blue, by herself in the spring. In 1998 the Blacks made their debut on record with Dolly Horrorshow on Bloodshot, which happened to be released the same day as I Wanna Be Kate, a Chicago-based tribute album in honor of Kate Bush featuring O'Connor's version of "The Saxophone Song." By 2000 the Blacks had run out of steam, but O'Connor was an in-demand guest vocalist, often spending time in Andrew Bird's band. By 2004 she was ready to strike out on her own again, and Bloodshot couldn't have been happier. The label signed its old friend and released her Til the Dawn in August of that year.
Nora O'Connor is an American musician. She sings and plays guitar with numerous bands and individuals from the U.S. and Canada, her primary involvements being Andrew Bird's Bowl of Fire and The Blacks. She has also worked with, recently, The New Pornographers, Archer Prewitt, Neko Case, John Wesley Harding, The Aluminum Group, Otis Clay, Chris Mills, Janet Bean, Frisbie (band), Justin Roberts, Kelly Hogan, Mavis Staples and Carl Henry Brueggen.
Her first solo CD on the Bloodshot Records label, Til the dawn, was released on August 24, 2004. However, an earlier CD, the very rare "Cerulean Blue" was released by Uncommon Ground Coffeehouse in Chicago.
In the mid-1990s, she formed the Nora O'Connor Band, with herself on lead vocals and guitar, Lisa Wertman Crowe on bass and vocals, Tony Ventura on guitar and Mark Cameron on drums.
She has two sons, and lives in Evanston, Illinois.