The Detroit Cobras singer Rachel Nagy has died. Her bandmate Greg Cartwright broke the sad news via the band’s Facebook page last night.
“It is with a heavy heart and great sadness that we announce the loss of our beloved friend and musical colleague, Rachel Lee Nagy,” he wrote. “There are no words to fully articulate our grief as we remember a life cut short, still vital and inspirational to all who knew and loved her. With the Detroit Cobras Rachel Nagy carried the torch of Rock, Soul and R&B to fans all over the world. More than just a performer, she embodied the spirit of the music itself and vaulted it to new heights with her own deeply affecting vocal power. I know that I am not alone when I say that I was inspired by her vitality, her fierce intensity and her vulnerability. Once plans have been finalized by the family we will post more information regarding further details to memorialize Rachel and pay tribute to her life. Until then, please know that if you are as devastated by this news as we are, you are not alone. We are with you in your grief. Rachel is survived by her brother Tony Nagy and her mother Marge Nagy.”
Nagy co-founded the Detroit Cobras in 1994 with guitarist Mary Ramirez and released their debut album, Mink, Rat Or Rabbit, in 1998. In 2001, they released Life, Love And Leaving, and joined the White Stripes in the city’s garage-rock revival scene. Both those albums were full of covers from acts like the Shangri-Las, Otis Redding, the Ronettes, the Marvelettes, Irma Thomas, and Ike and Tina Turner.
After signing to Rough Trade, the Detroit Cobras released the Seven Easy Pieces EP in 2003 and 2004’s Baby, which featured an original song called “Hot Dog (Watch Me Eat).” They released their final album, Tied & True, in 2007. Jack White‘s Third Man Records reissued their first two albums in 2016.
The label also paid tribute to Nagy via Instagram.
“In both her voice and personality, Rachel Nagy was the perfect balance of tough badass and absolute sweetheart,” the message begins. “From the earliest White Stripes shows at the Magic Stick in Detroit through the Third Man 10th anniversary show in Nashville, Rachel and the Detroit Cobras have been a consistent inspiring presence in our world for nearly 25 years. We will truly miss the sound of her room-filling laughter, her no bullshit honesty, and her true friendship. Rest in power.”