After Sept. 11, Waltham Musician Plays On

Sept. 8, 2011

By Cristina Quinn

Amy Fairchild plays a show in Natick, Mass. (Courtesy Cynthia Dobe)

BOSTON — Amy Fairchild is a musician who, in Sept. 2001, seemed in the brink of realizing her dream of having a professional life in music. After years of writing songs and getting her name out there, she was making an album with the right producer and talented musicians. On Sept. 11, she was getting on the subway to meet her producer when the world came to a standstill.

"Everything stopped. We questioned whether we should continue or start recording because it [recording] just seemed so frivolous," Amy said. "And then very quickly it actually became very clear that it was the most important thing I could do."

As a classically trained pianist, Amy grew up singing in chorus and performing in musical theatre. She dreamed of a professional career in music, and after teaching herself how to play guitar, she moved to New York with the dream of getting discovered.

Like so many Americans, Amy was traumatized by Sept. 11. But sometimes, the best way to cope with tragedy is to pick up where you left off. Amy was scheduled to start recording the following week — and she did. She recalls how recording the album in the wake of such great tragedy had a major impact in the studio.

"The whole Sept. 11 experience profoundly colored the whole process. It brought everything into perspective. Like just suddenly it felt like there was so much weight behind this, like, 'We gotta make this good,'" Amy said. "We all experienced that feeling that everything stopped. And I think that benefited us in that we were able to really live our experience of the record because it was just silent. Everything was just still. It felt like everybody was listening."

During this time Amy wrote a song called, "Tuesday." Amy described "Tuesday" as if it were a letter to a friend. It was recorded in a single take, while New York City and the rest of the country quietly grieved.

"It did feel like this had to matter. It was sort of like, well, it's just music — but it's not. It's very important — just continue bringing light and music to the world," Amy said.

Amy Fairchild's next gig is at The Turning Point in Pierpont, New York in November. Until then, she's in Waltham, Mass. — working in real estate but never far from the music.

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