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Maura Davis reluctantly accepts the title of sex symbol. In fact, she's somewhat amused by it because she now spends a considerable amount of time in scrubs. "I don't see myself in that light," Davis says. "I've been working in a nursing home lately and walking around in scrubs all day. That doesn't feel so sexy. As long as people don't see me as a raging, slutty bitch, I'm fine with whatever."

With searing good looks and a beautifully distinctive voice, Davis is synonymous with cool. She fronts two of the three rock bands she's involved with -- Ambulette, Glos and Denali — the last of which is reuniting at a highly anticipated show this summer at The National.

Recently, the 27-year-old Richmonder stumbled upon another passion. "I found out that I really love taking care of people. It's a new thing for me," she says. "I want to balance out a life of nursing and music and have a family someday."

People might be surprised that a rock star has such humble aspirations, but Davis has always kept her family close. "I think family is the most important thing in the world and I don't know what I would do without them," she says.

In 2000, she asked her older brother, Engine Down guitarist Keeley Davis, if he'd like to form a band. By adding friends Cam DeNuzio and Jonathan Fuller, they created one of the most stunning bands in Richmond history and were eventually signed by Jade Tree Records.

Best described as haunting, Denali threads cinematic arrangements through rock-based rhythms with eerie delicacy, all embracing Maura's pristine vocals, which seem to ride every subtle fluctuation of melody with breathtaking grace.

When the band split in 2004, broken-hearted fans satiated their appetites on a variety of the band's side projects. Needless to say, news of a regroup spread quickly and ignited a firestorm of thank-yous on their MySpace page.

So, what's it like being the sole female in the band? "I love being the only girl, especially with a group of amazing guys," she says. "And being in a band with my brother is such a gift. We get along great and share the same taste in music. I really missed him over those years we were in different bands."

It wasn't until recently that the decision was made to pull the foursome back together. "I didn't really think Denali would get back together," Davis says, "but we did. You never know what will happen these days."

The band plans to work on material for a new album following the reunion show, which will be released without the support of a label. Davis says she's not a fan of the music industry after having "a horrible experience" with another one of her bands and a label. "It makes me sick," she says. "Basically, now I don't trust anyone and it is really hard to hear good mainstream music." It's thus fitting that she's enamored of Radiohead — another band who got fed up with "the biz" — whom she regards as "constantly amazing."

Devoid of attitude, the singer welcomes the occasional fan who approaches her around town. "It feels good when people tell me how much they appreciate my music … a good feeling in my heart," she says.

Maura Davis is an artist who creates incomparable music for the love of the game, and that doesn't sound too bitchy to us.

Denali plays a reunion show at The National, Saturday, July 5, at 8 p.m. Go to www.thenational va.com or call 612-1900.


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