I talk a lot about the incredible “sense of community” I enjoy, living in the vineyards far out in Willcox wine country. It’s as if I have taken a step back in time to a kinder, more peaceful existence—where people help one another without thinking twice—where “good neighbors on-call” are 30-40 miles away.
This past week, however, has been a tough one in our far-flung wine community. We learned that two incredibly gifted musicians/friends/family members were no longer with us. Amy Ross and Derrick Ross, better known as Nowhere Man & A Whiskey Girl from Bisbee, AZ, had passed away; one at a time.
The first shock came when we learned that Whiskey Girl Amy had died prior to a surgery on Monday morning. About noon the following day, we were struck with the news that Nowhere Man Derrick, Amy’s husband, forever partner, one true love, and soul mate, had taken his life later Monday night—he could not go on without her. Like a modern-day Romeo and Juliet, this tragedy played out on Facebook.
There were innumerable Facebook posts of disbelief, heartbreak, sadness, and memories. Favorite Nowhere Man & A Whiskey Girl photos and soundtracks were shared. You could almost hear tears being choked back and/or shed shamelessly. One post made me me know that our strong sense of community was still alive—Thomas Johnson, proprietor of Trust Art & Design, posted a photo of Nowhere Guy & A Whiskey Girl performing The Wall in Bisbee a few years back: “Here’s one to add a smile to our big bowl of sadness.” It did.
Amy and Derrick had become major players in this wonderful, caring Willcox wine community. They were fixtures in our family—entertaining at nearly every event commemorating our milestones for the past few years (and we celebrate a lot). They had performed at grape stomps; harvest festivals; new wine releases; art openings and exhibits; wine club events; and, of course, the twice-a-year Willcox Wine Country festivals. This last Labor Day weekend, Nowhere Man and A Whiskey Girl played at the Pillsbury Wines Vineyard Tasting Room for the Harvest Festival. I watched out the window as I was pouring wines. The entire crowd was swaying back and forth in perfect sync to Amy’s melodious voice and Derrick’s rhythmic guitar—truly these seasoned musicians knew how to capture the hearts of every crowd. “Beautiful” was the only way to describe it.
The loss of these young musicians has fractured our hearts. The duo was scheduled to entertain this Sunday, October 20, at the fall Willcox Wine Country Fall Festival. The other musicians scheduled will carry the load—since they’ve all played with Amy and Derrick throughout the years, I’m betting there will be many fitting tributes to their fallen fellow musicians. The celebration of fine Arizona wines will go on as planned; it will still be peaceful, fun, and filled with discoveries of new wines and friends. But you can expect that big ol’ bowl of sadness hovering about Railroad Park—the spirit of Nowhere Man & A Whiskey Girl has left an indelible mark on the hearts and souls of the Willcox wine community.
So, for now, cheers to the magical music of Nowhere Man & A Whiskey Girl—now playing elsewhere—where the new crowd is no doubt already toe-tapping to the beat. Hope that ‘Tips” suitcase is opened wide and filling up, Amy & Derrick—and your beautiful CD Children of Fortune is selling like hotcakes.