The loss of Amy and Derrick Ross, also known as the band Nowhere Man and a Whisky Girl, still hurts, although eased a bit by time.
Friends of the couple, say it’s still important to remember the band and their music through an annual benefit show for the Southern Arizona Lupus Foundation.
NMWG played regularly in Tucson venues like Delectables on Fourth Avenue and the former Plush (now The Flycatcher), and the Copper Queen in their Bisbee home base. In mid-October 2013, Amy died of complications from lupus and Derrick took his life shortly after.
On Saturday, Nov. 14, the Third Benefit to Fight Lupus takes place at the Flycatcher (340 E. Sixth St.).
“It finally feels like we are all finally coming out of this coma,” says photographer and PopNarkotic’s Jimi Giannatti. “We still want to remember them and we want people to remember their music, but we’re also fighting lupus.”
Longtime friend Giannatti says he’s excited that not only is Jim Adkins returning, but he’s bringing his band Jimmy Eat World—not long after a sold-out Tucson performance. The remaining line-up is equally exciting and remains mostly friends of the late performers with only a few exceptions. Keli Carpenter returns singing NMWG songs with Children of Fortune, made up of Carpenter, and members Keli and the Big Dream, Sweet Ghosts, Steff and the Articles and Carlos Arzate and the Kind Souls.
Co-organizer and friend Bryan Sanders says the couples’ former label will be on hand to sell releases of the couple’s music.
“For us, it is also about their music,” he says. “We want people to keep listening to it and keep discovering it.”
Others in the line-up include Billy Sedlmayr, Fatigo (featuring Mike Montoya), Lonna Beth Kelley, Robin Vining. Jillian Bessett, Brent Miles, Terry Wolf, Courtney Marie Andrews and Leila Lopez.
Besides remembering the music, the fight for lupus is equally important. The benefit is now an official Southern Arizona Lupus Foundation benefit. Giannatti says the first year they raised $4,000 to fight lupus and last year $6,000, with $500 going to the Bisbee Community Garden Lani Baker, foundation board vice president, says the first year Gianatti, Sanders and other organizers came to them they were surprised to even receive the funds. This year, they’ve planned a gala event on Sunday, Nov. 15, to raise additional funds and give an award honoring NMWG to Amy’s mother and sisters, in town for the event.
Baker says the money raised at this weekend’s benefit doesn’t go to a national organization, but stays in the Tucson area to help people pay for medical expenses, as well as education and a scholarship fund. For more on the benefit, visit the Range or www.nmwg.org.