Love to Connie Parriott

Connie and Charlie Parriott
Connie and Charlie Parriott

Connie Parriott remains one of the warmest, most loving people I have ever met. She passed over to the other side last week, and she will be dearly missed. I grew up with Connie, she and her husband of 31 years, Charlie, were part of my fathers’ tight knit community of Northwest artists. Connie was a wonderful counterpoint to Charlie, he is as wiry and intense as she was fluid and laid back. Her smile had a way of calming your nervous system, always letting you know you were welcome. The grooviest mom next door ever.

Connie Parriott & I at the Chihuly roast
Connie Parriott & I at the Chihuly roast

She was a real-deal artist, our own Rickie Lee Jones, the Duchess of Coolsville. She lived the life, raising her family while she and Charlie held space for each other to continue creating.  She would sway into an event, dressed in layers of interesting accessories mixing the feminine and masculine. She might have a bake-a-lite necklace on, contrasted with baggy workman’s pants and scuffed leather boots. She could have been a Beatnik poet, or a cowgirl pirate as Rickie would describe herself.  She always felt like she had just “thrown something on,” and the outcome was as funky, earthy, and expressive as any piece of art. She and Charlie’s homes were also always fascinating, filled with the work of their large group of artistic comrades.

In 2011 MK Barr and I interviewed Connie and Charlie at their Whidbey Island retreat for MK’s movie, Painted in the Desert, about the community of Northwest artist I grew up with. Here is a link to that blog post, it is a twofer because the Marquis’s were also on the tour that day.

Self portrait
Self portrait

In January of this year, Anna Minard wrote a short devotional piece for the Stranger about Rickie called Devil, Cowgirl, Pirate: Why you Should Love Rickie Lee Jones. Many of the quotes here are from that reverential text, and it could be written about Connie as well. Connie was fierce and magic; her style suggested that she grew up with “lower-middle-class-hillbilly-hipsters,” {even though she was from an upper middle class suburb of Tacoma, WA};  She had a passionate, romantic partnership with another strong artistic force, as Rickie did with Tom Waits; She was born in the same year as Rickie, and Rickie now lives here in Washington state; her voice was interesting, she had her own cadence and flow-and as the article on Rickie says of her voice, “it’s like a rough edge just barely coated in smooth honey, baby-new and ancient at the same time;” I saw Connie sport a beret on many occasions; Rickie said of her recent stripped down cover of the Rolling Stones “Sympathy for the Devil” that it was “one devil with one guitar.” Watch it here live:

I have no idea if Connie played the guitar, but I see her in her heavenly place, strumming away, rolling a cigarette, and enjoying the ambience. The world has one less wild, independent, authentic woman inspiring our earth walk.  Big love to Charlie, and her daughters Rachel and Helena, we are here when you need us. It’s been so good to love you Connie, we all still do.

My favorite Rickie song, tender beauty for you Connie. **See lyrics below:


Rickie and Lyle Lovett doing North Dakota live. wow.

P.S. One of Connie’s Friends also did a post on her:

**Rickie Lee Jones

Stewart’s Coat

Hold me love, I can’t sleep again

I have to kiss your nose? I wanna lay here next to him, love

I remember walking in the rain

Rain was falling on my hands, I don’t wanna live through that again, no

Outside the heart it gets dark now, lovers walking in the park now

Children singing songs that will now make all our dreams come true

I’m in love with you

I know it takes is love, love is a healing thing

When you give everything, you’re loving the world

The world gives you love to hold onto

Remembering we, we seldom love

Somewhere, we’ll be over there

We’ll be better there

Just give me many chances

I’ll see you through it all

Just give me time to learn to crawl

In September, when the rain comes and the wind blows

I would see you walking in your coat

And if you let me, I will keep you here inside the stars

I will love the sound of my sheets since you have moved beneath them

Just give me many chances

I’ll see you through it all

Just give me time to learn to crawl

Just give me many chances

I’ll see you through it all

Just give me time to learn to crawl

Just give me many chances

I’ll see you through it all

But give me time to learn to crawl

Time to learn to crawl, time to learn to crawl

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