AMY ANNELLE is a songwriter and folk musician whose work balances exploration with a reverence for America's restless, divergent musical past. She's been recording and touring as an independent artist for almost two decades, crafting "richly textured, exotic song-worlds that often bear little resemblance to standard voice-and-guitar folk songs" (Billboard). Over the course of nine albums and countless miles logged on the road, Amy has cultivated a rarefied voice and a repertoire that "blooms with open-hearted, lustful vulnerability and a harrowing naturalistic solitude" (Crawdaddy). In addition to her own work, Amy has sung with Michael Hurley, Victoria Williams, Bill Callahan, Ralph White and Jandek; she has been billed with notable modern folk artists Roy Harper, Jolie Holland, Jad Fair, Tara Jane O’Neil and Souled American.
Since her first single appeared in 1998, Amy has devoted her life to sharing her music with all who would hear. She has released a stream of critically acclaimed albums, first using the moniker ‘The Places’, then her own name. After a few years in Portland, Oregon’s burgeoning music scene, Amy made a home on the road, touring as a soloist or with a number of ingenious pickup groups made up of friends from folk, jazz and experimental music backgrounds. In between her travels, she stayed in the big cities, wildernesses and small towns of America, living rough, working odd jobs and immersing herself in the people, places and history around her. Her songs, photographs and essays bear witness to her journey, through the forgotten eddies of America and deep within herself. Amy has touched many with her performances, which have taken place everywhere from art collectives and house concerts to folk festivals and rock clubs, from community radio stations and street corners to New York City’s Town Hall.
During this time of intense work and productivity, Amy’s health was in decline. As an itinerant musician, she was unable to access consistent medical care; her condition worsened as it went untreated. Despite serious symptoms, Amy continued to tour and record until she suffered a life-threatening medical crisis in 2010, when she was hospitalized and underwent emergency surgery. At that time she was finally diagnosed with Stage IV (advanced) endometriosis, which had damaged many of her abdominal organs and put great stress on her immune system and nervous system.
Endometriosis is a prevalent but poorly understood disease, which can vary greatly in the severity of its presentation. Funding for research has been inadequate, and much of the medical literature is outdated or incorrect, leading to long-delayed diagnosis, ineffective treatments, and repeated medical trauma. Patients must become experts themselves if they are to find skilled care.
Since her diagnosis, Amy has had three surgeries and many treatments, which have offered little relief from her intractable pain, organ dysfunction and debilitating fatigue. Additionally, she was diagnosed with an an auto-immune disease that causes chronic pain of the muscles, joints, and connective tissue. Amy has been unable to tour since 2010, and ongoing health challenges have greatly limited her ability to perform or work locally.
After exhausting her local treatment options, Amy learned about the Center For Endometriosis Care in Atlanta, Georgia. The CEC is one of a handful of specialist centers that can effectively treat complex cases such as Amy’s, and she will travel there for excision surgery in early 2017. While there is no cure for endometriosis, excision surgery performed by a true expert can offer patients the best chance of relief from symptoms and regaining quality of life. It is hoped that the effects of the surgery could also help Amy’s auto-immune disease, and that she will get back on her feet, back on the road, and back to sharing her work as a musician and photographer.
Sweet Relief has graciously established this Designated Artist Fund on Amy’s behalf, and all proceeds will go towards her surgery and recovery expenses. Amy is part of a small but growing grass-roots endometriosis education movement, and advocates for other people who are living with this misunderstood and often-debilitating illness. She hopes that by sharing her story, she can help others with endometriosis to move past the myths and misconceptions, and connect with the best resources and care. For more information, please see the links below.
Website for Amy Annelle: www.highplainssigh.com
Non-profit endometriosis education site: www.endopaedia.org
Non-profit endometriosis education and support group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/418136991574617/