amy, amy, amy...
one of my favorite artists of the last few years has passed on...ironically joining the 27 club.
i'm gonna credit a combination of okplayer and my girl sparkle for putting me on to her. the first notes of "rehab" hit me like a train. once i had back to black, i knew i had to go back and buy frank, her first album.
i related to her on several levels.
i laughed at "f*ck me pumps".
i played "love's a losing game" and "wake up alone" until i could sing every note.
i cosigned "in my bed", "stronger than me" and "some unholy war"--having been (and still being) all those women.
i triumphed with her when i heard "tears dry on their own", remembering the moments when i was truly, finally over him, him, and him.
i didn't consider it at first, but there is something to her channeling lady day some two generations later. since i discovered jazz, i've loved billie--probably for the same reasons i love amy: that willingness to put your heart and soul on record, literally, bruised and bloodied for all the world to see. crying through the music so we can take it out on our pillows and barstools. to this day, you'll find me pulling out "good morning heartache" on an emotionally difficult evening.
i had a blake, too. our relationship wasn't nearly as dysfunctional, but the bond was similar. we were tied to each other's spirits. we fueled and loved each other in rarely rivaled ways. recently i had to make the sort of break i'm not sure amy ever did. it hurt, and it's still hurting. but i knew i couldn't walk that road of stagnation and pain--not even for that love.
what really hurt amy? did it start with her wild dance with blake? before that? i often wondered. i do know i could have slipped down her slope. i've seen addiction both in my personal and professional lives and glimpsed it in my own. i have an unwavering compassion for folks with monkeys, demons, white horses, and pink elephants.
i kept hoping i wouldn't see this news. when she slipped from the tabloid glare, i thought maybe she was preparing to come back--bigger and better than ever. and maybe she was.
instead....she let go.
rest, amy. rest.
may your gift inspire, and may your story save.