Amy Farris Tribute – Continental Club, Austin, TX, 10/21/09
Last night was a wonderful tribute to Amy Farris, the 40-year-old singer and violin player who recently died, and likely by her own hand. It was a full house at the Continental Club with fellow musicians, family members, and the rest of us there to pay respects and to listen to some wonderful music. A slideshow journey was included as well.
It opened with some of Amy’s students, playing a couple classic Beatles’ tunes. And though I did not learn the leader’s name it was noted that she was playing Amy’s violin…. which still held her smells.
Damon Bramlett then spoke and played, and told a sentimental story about Amy joining him for a family funeral, which meant a great deal to him. Jesse Dayton and band members followed, playing some of Amy’s favorite songs, including Roky Erickson’s “Starry Eyes”. Jon Dee Graham provided a candid look into Amy’s life, and he was there to share his time, looking well after his recent accident.
Exene Cervenka, or “X” to Amy, flew in for the show. Her sadness was apparent; but her voice was strong while performing one of the songs I believe she and Amy wrote together. Kelly Willis played and spoke, with both tears and smiles. And Bruce was traveling, or he would have been there too, she noted. Others joined in; I have to admit I didn’t know them all: Dale Spalding on harmonica, Cindy Wasserman on vocals, and more.
Dave Alvin & the Guilty Women closed the show, filling the stage, playing songs from the new album, along with rollicking classics. Watching the faces of Chrystal McWilson (picture), Lisa Pankratz, Cindy Cashdollar, and Sarah Brown showed how much Amy meant to them all. And I will remember last night’s version of “Potter’s Field” for a long time.
Through it all, Warren Hood held the spot Amy would have filled on stage (picture). As always, he was superb and gracious. A memorable night for sure.