Read This Moving Memorial for Derrick & Amy Ross:
“A loving couple, two unique individuals, and, to me, the epitome of what a loving relationship should be.”

I am still processing the tragic loss of Derrick & Amy Ross, the husband-and-wife duo better known as Nowhere Man and a Whiskey Girl. It has been, what, 24 hours since the news broke? This isn’t much time at all in the grand scheme of things, certainly nothing in the timetable of grief, but my connection with them was that of a mere acquaintance — an admirer, a fan remembering a series of positive interactions. For those of you who are their friends and their family, I can only imagine what you are feeling right now. If it’s any consolation, Derrick and Amy’s influence spread wide in Tucson. The many shocked phone calls and IMs of disbelief I received yesterday from others who only had passing interactions with the Rosses — “did you hear about this?”, “I’m in shock right now.” — are evidence of this connection. Derrick and Amy established deep roots, and touched many people. Many mourn right now.

During my morning Google search, I found a gem of a remembrance from a blog called The Recoup that I would like to share. Joseph Kyle, a music writer who has written for a variety of publications including Pitchfork, Tiny Mix Tapes, No Depression, and Punk Planet, published a moving obituary to the couple this morning. He recounts his decade-long friendship with the Rosses but also isn’t afraid to express his confusion and grief at the same time. It’s moving, and I have excerpted a few quotes below, but please read the entire piece.

They were dark but not morose; they had a style that was both traditional and yet something different. Amy sang with a husky voice that was as warm as it was cold and off-putting. Derrick’s songwriting and playing was as natural and as appropriate for her voice; they were two artists who completely understood each other, knew each others styles, strengths, and weaknesses, and knew how to utilize this knowledge to full effect.

I don’t know when I’ll be able to listen to them any time soon–it may be a while, it may be a long time from now. Confusion and anger set in; why could this happen to them, this loving, happy, weird, funny couple? Their love was deep, it was powerful, but this ending is disturbing; I cannot begin to romanticize Derrick’s actions; I don’t understand the power of being that in love, so much so that there is no point in continuing. As angry as I am about his actions, I ultimately realize I cannot condemn him for doing so as well.

Their music, however, will live on. I suggest you buy their music. Support them; in so doing, keep them alive for eternity’s sake. I’m sure they’d like that. I know I would.

Watch the video for the lovely “Tumbleweed” below:

Tumbleweed by Nowhere Man and a Whiskey Girl from Photographic Memoria on Vimeo.

Heartbroken.
R.I.P., Nowhere Man and a Whiskey Girl.

After taking a month-long absence from this blog because of increasing work insanity, it is with a heavy heart that I am restarting Weirdly Fierce with the terrible news that the Bisbee, Arizona-based husband-and-wife duo of Nowhere Man and a Whiskey Girl have both suddenly died in a tragic series of events. According to the Tucson Weekly, singer and keyboardist Amy Ross, who apparently suffered from several serious health conditions, died in a hospital on Monday while awaiting surgery. Her husband, guitarist Derrick Ross, then committed suicide less than a day later.

I am utterly heartbroken by this news. Many people in Tucson and the Southwest knew Derrick and Amy, and while I can’t say I was friends with them I had met them on many occasions playing shows in Tucson or at the Copper Queen Hotel in Bisbee. They always struck me as incredibly warm, generous people, and what makes this series of events so heartbreaking is that they always gave off the vibe that they were the sort of couple who had never really fallen out of love with each other even though they had been together for more than a decade. I don’t want to speculate too much — I didn’t know them as anything more than acquaintances and don’t want to pretend I did — but this sense of joy and love transferred a genuine, welcoming feeling of goodwill to their audience with Amy’s rich, playful voice, her electric piano, and Derrick’s economical guitar. It was the kind of music that was instantly inviting and always left us feeling somehow… better about the world.

Their bond even lasted to the end. In the final clincher to this story — the one that left me in tears — Derrick announced the news of their passing on Amy’s Facebook page, first announcing her death in the first person as Amy, and then eighteen hours later, in what has to be a tragic, final act, announcing his own death, once again in the first person as Amy. The Tucson Weekly (which confirmed the events with Bisbee police) has screenshots of the Facebook posts in the article linked to above; I don’t feel the need to repost them here. It sounds bizarre and is certainly unsettling, but the comments below the posts indicate that their friends were used to them sharing each other’s accounts. I guess in the end they went out together, bonded forever.

Watch the video for “If Only I” below, featuring the Ross couple dancing.