Nowhere Man and a Whiskey Girl was the name Derrick and Amy Ross of Bisbee, Arizona performed folk music under. Married for 13 years and by all accounts still deeply in love, Amy played keyboard and sang while Derrick played guitar. They developed a strong following in the Southwest.
Here’s how the duo’s website describes how the name was derived:
When Derrick and Amy Ross began performing as Nowhere Man and a Whiskey Girl in early 2003, their intentions were simple enough: Select a name that hinted at their roots in the American West and established their identity as a determinedly two-person operation.
The name also cast them as a couple of wanderers, too intoxicated with the possibilities of someplace else to settle down. In that sense, the name would prove prophetic as it charted the course of the next five years of their lives.
Unable to locate a satisfactory permanent home, they accumulated more than their fair share of temporary addresses. When it wasnt the pony-trail towns of Bisbee, Tucson, and Willcox in the Arizona Territory, it was cooler locales like Corvallis and Nashville. Upon the release of their debut album, they hit the road for weeks at a time, bypassing the metropolitan centers in favor of the oft-neglected smaller towns in between.
Wherever they went, they brought a simple musical proposition: Her piano and voice, his acoustic guitar, a love of lifes little details, and a sense of humor. Although they traversed a landscape of bleached-husk desolation, they arrived none the worse for wear. Their longing for home unfulfilled, they found something of greater value along the way. They found a legion of like-minded hopeful searchers who believed in what they had to say and how they said it…
On Monday, Nowhere Man and Whiskey Girl ceased to be. Amy died from a blood infection — the result of on-going dialysis she had to undergo because of a battle with lupus — and Derrick took his own life later that night. She was 40, he was 39.
According to comedian Doug Stanhope, a friend of the couple who rented his home to them, Derrick — who was a guest on Stanhope’s podcast just a few days ago — was insistent that he wasn’t in a bad place after Amy’s passing.
“After (Amy) died, he kept telling people he was OK,” Stanhope told the Arizona Daily Star. “Evidently he bought a gun on the way home from the hospital. We found a receipt.”
Amy announced her death in her own words on her personal Facebook page…
According to the Tucson Sentinel, Stanhope wrote the message from Amy after Derrick gave him her Facebook password. Later, after Derrick committed suicide, Stanhope posted another message to Amy’s Facebook page.
In an interview with Tucson Weekly, Stanhope talked about the type of people his friends Amy and Derrick were.
My girlfriend [Amy “Bingo” Bingaman] wanted to go see The Wall for her birthday and I didn’t want to go . . . but instead I had Whiskey Girl and Nowhere Man [perform it]. They learned the entire f*cking thing and did it at our house for a surprise party. They had a full band, even the bullhorn parts. [Laughs] They learned the entire album just for her birthday. Just f*cking amazing.
In their song “If Only I,” Amy talks about the type of legacy she’d like to leave behind after she’s gone and the video for the song features the couple dancing lovingly together.
It’s probably debatable whether two people have ever loved each other more. If life was fair, Amy and Derrick would have had the chance to grow old together. May they rest in peace.