Izzy Cox, also known as the “Original Steampunk Crooner” and the “Vodoobilly Jazz Queen” was a local Austin musician via Montreal, New York, and Hollywood, who passed away on March 24th after a battle with Pancreatic Cancer, leaving a void in the underground Austin music scene that will not soon be filled. Starting with a public wake at The Parlor in north Austin on Tuesday (3-28), fans and friends of Izzy came together to remember her contributions in the music and visual art space.
Despite her terminal diagnosis, Izzy Cox was creating art all the way up to her passing, including recently recording eight final songs, and regularly making visual art while in care at Seton Medical Center in Austin. She passed away in a peaceful setting and free of pain with her band members from her backing band The Ghosts by her side, lightly playing and singing.
The funeral for Izzy was held Wednesday (3-29) in a small church in south Austin, and conducted by Kye Flannery, who was Izzy’s chaplain for the last six months at Seaton Medical Center. The small ceremony started by Izzy’s best friend Jean-Marie, and tour manager/fellow musician Gabriel Lopez, sharing memories and stories of Izzy at home and on the road. Joellen Housego—one of Izzy’s musical friends from back in Montreal—also sent a letter that was read aloud. “She made art when it wasn’t there,” Kye Flannery read from Housego’s letter. Band members of “Izzy Cox and the Ghosts” Tony Cook and Pete Maclanahan also shared their memories of Izzy for the assembled friends and family. “Her last words were ‘I love you,’ to everyone,” they shared.
It wouldn’t be a fit eulogy for Izzy Cox without music, and this was supplied through performances by Jenny Parrott on piano, and Betsy “Badwater” Tereszkiewic—who drove in from Pensacola, Florida for the service and performed “Ashokan Farewell.” Fiddle player Katy Rose Cox performed the final piece of music, playing “Dirge For Izzy,” composed for the ceremony.
Austin musician Gary Lindsey, who often collaborated with Izzy Cox, read a poem as part of the memorial service, as well as giving some poignant comments on her passing. “We all helped her with the major burden of her talent,” Lindsey recalled, while comparing her impact to the waters of the Grand Canyon, long since receded but leaving a lasting and beautiful legacy behind.
Izzy’s brother Mack Cox read a letter he wrote to Izzy the day after her passing, as well as thanking many of the friends and musicians who had taken the time to visit and support Izzy when she was ill. “I was not the only one she treated as a cherished sibling,” he said to the assembly.
The service was conducted in a manner very respectful to Izzy Cox’s diverse belief system, including the reading of Buddhist and Pagan passages. The gathering very much represented the diversity of the Austin roots music underground, with tour vans parked out front, and Izzy carried away in a vintage hearse.
Afterwards there was a celebration of Izzy Cox’s life at the Carousel Lounge in Austin where Izzy played many of her final shows. MC’d by Gabriel Lopez of the band Texicano Folk Rock Punk, with help from Izzy’s guitarist Tony Cook and others, the Carousel Lounge was packed with friends, fans, and family of Izzy, with proceeds from the tip jar going to the Seton Hospital Chaplain’s Department, which was part of Izzy’s care while in Cancer treatment.
Performers at the Carousel Lounge who contributing their talents to the legacy of Izzy Cox included Dirty Charley, Jenny Parrott, the Rock Bottom String Band, Robert Allan Caldwell, Black Eyed Vermillion (Gary Lindsey), Nathan Olivarez, Betsy Badwater, The Boomswagglers, Johnny Pabst, Bruce 3, and Izzy’s hospital chaplain Kye Flannery.
Izzy will be buried in a cemetery near Leuders, TX next to her grandmother. A tombstone will also be placed in Austin, TX.
UPDATE: Izzy Cox was in the Cox family plot in Clear Fork Cemetary (also known as Leuders Cemetery), next to her grandmother Odessa on April 8th.