Meeting Eva Cassidy’s parents

In the distance I spot Eva’s father, Hugh Cassidy, in the parking lot of New Carrolton metro station. He’s wearing a baseball cap, like he had said on the phone. Barbara appears as well. “How did you find each other?” she asks. Hugh invites me to sit in the front seat of the car and drives away. The windows are wide open. The wind is blowing with such force that it becomes difficult to hear him talk. Hugh seems to be interested in Dutch politics.

The Maryland landscape changes from armoured concrete into lush, green surroundings with many impressive trees. “Look, that’s a fine one.” Hugh points to a large oak, “That one is more than thirty years old.” We park the car at The Pirate’s Cove, one of Eva’s favourite restaurants. From under an awning we have a beautiful view of Chesapeake Bay.

After lunch, Hugh and Barbara take me to their home. Hugh likes to philosophise. He gives three reasons why you should or shouldn’t say something to somebody: Is it true? Is it constructive? And, is it relevant? The Cassidy’s have had many disappointing experiences with journalists and filmmakers who turned out to be incapable. 

We leave the road, which had become more and more quiet, and turn onto a path through the woods leading to the gorgeous white house on the waterfront. Barbara guides me around their house. The timber residence turns out to be surprisingly modern; the kitchen unit is nothing less than trendy. Eva’s paintings dominate the interior. Many people know those images, but hardly anyone has actually seen them in real life. The works are figurative, with a surreal twist. Eva may not have graduated from the academy but she certainly kept her artistic purity. One painting is really remarkable: It depicts a girl with a small, green hat who looks away evasively. It’s an intriguing portrait.  

Emmaus Moravian Church

Emmaus Moravian Church

On the first floor we stumble upon a picture that was taken at St. Mary’s River, far south in Maryland – Eva’s favourite spot, where her ashes were scattered. Hugh and Barbara have the same destiny in mind – to be carried away by the wind and the water. Barbara tells me one of the many reasons she was attracted to Hugh was that he was an American. “I wanted to embrace the world, leave my hometown, Bad Kreuznach, and fly away,” she says passionately. No, she would never want to return to Germany; for a short holiday at the most.

I have the chance to look through the bookcase, which contains work of C.S. Lewis, art books, books about spirituality, UFOs, drugs, a tourist guide about the C&O Canal and several works by Kahlil Gibran, including Beloved Prophet.

New Guinea Chief

New Guinea Chief

Hugh turns up again and we decide to sit down behind the house. It’s like paradise. “This is the house at the seaside that Eva dreamt of during her life,” says Barbara. She serves ice cream and Earl Grey tea.        

19 responses to “Meeting Eva Cassidy’s parents”

  1. Webmiss says:

    Copyright your own work? Someone else’s work? It depends on what you do with it. If you quote a poem you should mention its author. But if you quote a famous line everyone will know that it is a quote and where it comes from.

  2. I’m Leo Cassidy and when I came across Eva’s voice I stopped short
    instantly. I seemed to be spellbound, attracted to this woman. Something
    seemed to click. Eva’s style and unique vocal delivery stood well above
    the average Joe or Joann.

    I myself carry the same passion Eva displayed in her short life.

  3. Sam says:

    I just recently discovered Eva’s song Fields of Gold and am adding it to my funeral’s playlist, though I hope to not be needing it for a while longer. It is beautiful, absolutely beautiful.

  4. Jose Guzman says:

    Love everything about this girl.
    Makes me cry when I listen to her interpretations, with the guitar, and with the jazz trio.

    Jose Guzman

  5. Jeff says:

    I also had not been aware of Eva till after she left us.
    Every time I hear her ,which is often on Pandora, I can’t help but tear up thinking she is gone .I just want to thank her parents for helping to create her.
    God must have needed her Angel voice in heaven .I miss her

  6. Mary Houck says:

    Beautiful parents . A spirit as beautiful as Eva’s will never die. I rediscovered her today when I listened to a different rendition of Fields Of Gold by another singer. I had to hear her sing it again. I am always saddened that there were so many songs she had left to sing. Life is not easy so we clutch beauty whenever we can. And so I did.

    • victoria campbell says:

      Eva has helped me as i do massage for a living and i have to use alot of strength and i feel her strength come thru her music- she is in Heaven now and will be entertaining folks there forever iam sure- she is a real treasure to many- her voice is like an angels straight from heaven x

  7. will says:

    why has no one made the life and times of eva into a movie that I think can be award winning movie ?

    • johan says:

      Because Blix Street, Eva’s record company was not happy with the results. They didn’t think Amy Redford’s script good enough (they rejected many other scripts as well). Without the record company no music, and without music no authentic Eva Cassidy film.

    • Jeannie says:

      She was not known enough at her death … her fame came after her passing

  8. Emily Glaser says:

    I write for a website called we serve as an anthology of Southern culture, history, food and music. I recently wrote a story on Eva Cassidy (I’ve attached it if you’d like to read) and I’m trying to hunt down images we can include on our website to go along with the photographs. I understand that you don’t have rights to the photos you use on your website, but I was hoping you could provide me with contact information to contact someone who does have rights to photos.

    • johan says:

      I made most pictures for my website myself. Others were made by Ron Beenen.

      • Kathleen says:

        I know grief is a strange and elusive beast so I need to reach out and say I just heard Eva’s music for the first time recently. Now I am experiencing her passing as most of you did years ago. I cant stop singing early morning rain, and I haven’t played guitar in years. Eva seems to be calling out to me to “find my voice”. I am old, retired and so comforted to learn how to play and sing her songs. She is still with us all

        • Steve says:

          Amen Kathleen. That beautiful young lady, and her incredible voice can literally bring one to tears.
          I just wish I had started listening to her music when she was still alive. What a tragedy, but atleast
          she still has left us with a beautiful voice to enjoy forever. Thank you to her father and mother Hugh
          and Barbara for letting us share her with them.

        • Jeannie says:

          Wonderful! We thought although very short, that her life was given to us for many reasons, if we will read into her story, and the songs especially the lyrics to the songs she chose I am sur God met for Eva meant for Eva to be one of his heavenly Angels perhaps he just wanted her to touch us with song and she most certainly did!You are very much loved by many Eva.. and even more so by those that understood you alway

  9. Jerry says:

    Thanks for the article. A rare view of her very formative parents.

  10. What do you all think? What happens after “everybody dies?” Let me know in the comments!

  11. Silver Price says:

    What do you all think? What happens after “everybody dies?” Let me know in the comments!

  12. Kristen says:

    This is beautiful. What a gift to be able to sit with Eva’s parents. Good for you. Gives us a glimpse into her life. Thank you.

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