Interview with Nora O'Connor
In the third of our series of interviews with Chicago bands and musicians we love, I briefly chatted with singer-songwriter-musician and Bloodshot Records artist Nora O'Connor. Well-known as a member of glam-country band The Blacks and Andrew Bird's Bowl of Fire, and for her contributions to records by The New Pornographers and Archer Prewitt, O'Connor also released the lovely, highly recommended, solo album Til The Dawn (US, UK, eMusic) in 2004. When she isn't spending time with her new baby (congrats Nora!), Chicagoans can catch her around town performing with Kelly Hogan and Scott Ligon and, in July, in a much-anticipated Blacks reunion show.
I'm convinced you could play Six Degrees of Separation with Nora O'Connor and hit every Chicago musician in two degrees. What have been your favorite collaborations?
Well, what I'm doing right now with Kelly Hogan and Scott Ligon is blowin' my mind. I just love singing with them and I think the songs we do are great. We're starting to do more of Scott's original songs and the harmonies are really lush. And I have to say working on the last two New Pornographers records have been great projects. Oh and Archer Prewitt ... Kelly and I sang on his album Three (US, UK) and we just had a blast. Archer had some great back ups planned for that record and we loved, loved doing them.
Who haven't you worked with but are dying to?
I'd really like to sing with Neko [Case]. We were never in the studio at the same time during the New Pornographers sessions, so that doesn't count.
Your solo album has more of a traditional country and bluegrass sound compared with say, your work with The Blacks. Is this the music that's closest to your heart?
It depends what day it is. When it comes to singing I do like the pretty stuff. With The Blacks, I got to rock out and play electric guitar with pedals. That makes me feel pretty cool.
After six years apart, The Blacks just announced a reunion show at Empty Bottle. Is this a one-night deal or are you guys considering recording another album?
It may be more than a one-night deal but we haven't really thought beyond that.
What else are you currently working on?
I'm really just doing shows with Scott and Kelly and working on the Blacks stuff. I just had a baby so he's my passion right now.
You're an ordained reverend. How often do you actually perform weddings?
OK, I guess that sounded really cool in my bio, huh? I've performed one wedding. I really just did that with some of my friends so we could walk around calling each other reverend. Like nodding "Reverend, "Reverend" back n' forth ... We crazy.
Finally, as a south side girl you've got have an opinion on this: Will the Sox go all the way again this year?
I hope so. I'm annoying to watch sports with because I cheer for the guy with the ball, I don't care who he/she is. I'd love to see the Sox and Cardinals go up against each other because I know some passionate Cardinal fans and Sox fans so I'd be happy for them.
Visit Nora O'Connor's Web site.
Listen to Nora O'Connor:
My Backyard - O'Connor
Looks Like I'm Up Shit Creek Again - Nora O'Connor
Sticks n' Stones - Nora O'Connor
Previous Chicago interviews: