Revisit Dear Nora’s Mountain Rock, An Overlooked Anti-Folk Classic

Bush-era indie that’s intensely loved by some, but unknown to many.

Revisit Dear Nora’s <i>Mountain Rock</i>, An Overlooked Anti-Folk Classic   Chris Lael Larson

I live in a city, and don't spend a lot of time in cars. When I happen to be inside of one, I usually put on Dear Nora, the turn-of-the-century indie rock project led by Katy Davidson. Dear Nora songs are unfussy; they usually rely on elemental melodies, intimate lyrics, and not much else. It all adds up to perfect car music — or train music, or headphone music, or sit in your room and stare at snow falling softly on the fire escape music. "I got a crazy idea for a new art project/ That I will never do," Davidson sings on "Hung Up," a lovely acoustic ballad from Mountain Rock, Dear Nora's great 2004 full-length, which is getting a reissue this week on Orindal Records.

Dear Nora's indie is of the earnest variety, and the project's DIY fingerprints can be found all over some of right-now's most talked-about rock songs. According to a statement about the re-release, Davidson wrote Mountain Rock during the early days of George W. Bush's first presidency and the beginning of the Iraq war, when "Hey Ya!" by Outkast was everywhere. "This album is about bliss and terror, and how interactions with wilderness and humanity can provoke those emotions," she explained. It's music about friendship and nature and fearing change but also accepting it — and it feels as relevant as ever.

In addition to the re-issue, Davidson has put a new band together for some Dear Nora shows in January, the first since she retired the moniker in 2008. Those dates are below, too.

Dear Nora 2017 tour dates:

1/13 - Olympia, WA @ Obsidian ^
1/14 - Seattle, WA @ Black Lodge ^
1/15 - Portland, OR @ Turn! Turn! Turn! ^
1/16 - Portland, OR @ Reed College ^
1/18 - Oakland, CA @ The Night Light ^
1/19 - Los Angeles, CA @ Bootleg Theater ^
1/21 - Las Vegas, NV @ 11th Street Records ^
1/22 - Flagstaff, AZ @ Firecreek Coffee ^
1/23 - Phoenix, AZ @ Trunk Space ^
1/24 - Tucson, AZ @ Pomoro ^
1/25 - San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar ^
1/26 - Tijuana, MX @ Mous Tache ^
1/28 - San Francisco, CA @ Makeout Room ^

^ w/ Stephen Steinbrink

Revisit Dear Nora’s Mountain Rock, An Overlooked Anti-Folk Classic