Dan Cassidy’s 50th birthday

Dan Cassidy celebrated his 50th birthday with a special concert at the Lion Hotel in Shrewsbury on July 11th. Cassidy performed there with James Hickman, with his own Swing Quartet and with special guest Charlie Dore. Dan is Eva’s brother and has contributed strings to many of her best-selling discs. ‘Sometimes I realise “Wow, I’m on that Songbird record that’s done so well”,’ smiles Dan.

‘I’m on a few of her other CDs as a guest but it’s probably not my best playing. Not that it matters because people buy the disc to hear her voice.’ Dan knows that he’ll never escape the shadow of Eva who had three number one albums in Britain after her death in 1996. ‘I get a lot of people coming to see me because they like her music,’ says Dan. ‘Sometimes they’ll bring her CDs for me to sign and often I’ll write ‘Eva would have liked it here’ because I dearly wanted her to come to Britain and sing some folk music and see how the people would receive her. Unfortunately this never happened.’

Dan Cassidy

Dan Cassidy

Dan moved from his native Maryland to Europe but eventually settled in Iceland in 1992. ‘I’d always wanted to visit Iceland so I went up there with a friend and kinda fell in love with place after just three or four days. In Iceland you’re getting away from the rat race. It’s cleansing to your spirit.’

Dan explains the difference between ‘fiddle players’ and ‘violin players’: ‘The difference is the type of music you’re playing. It’s the same instrument, only the price tag is different. Fiddlers brag about how little they paid for their instrument, violinists brag about how much they paid! I found out they had virtually no fiddle players in Iceland, only violin players, so I thought ‘that’s it, I’m going to move up there and introduce the fiddle to these people. I always had an ambition to get a lot of session work and it came true in Iceland because, being the only fiddler up there playing country and western and Celtic music, I got on a lot of CDs.’

Dan also became part of an Icelandic pop band ‘playing loud music for young people’ which helped pay the bills while he worked on his real love of bluegrass, swing and country music. He released an album, On The Fiddle, in 1997. ‘I thought it would do something because Eva’s on three songs on that disc. It was released a week before my parents signed with Blix Street Records on behalf of Eva’s music so I think that kept me from promoting the CD seriously. It’s basically me playing a bunch of styles of fiddle music, with Eva as a guest.’

Dan Cassidy

Dan Cassidy

‘She knew about the CD. When she was ill she knew I was making it and I said I would dedicate it to her. She gave me the tune I Know You By Heart to add the fiddle to and she got to hear it. She was sick and didn’t have long to go but she listened to it and very humbly said, ‘‘Well your part was good.” That was her sense of humour. I think she was happy with how she sang it but she would never tell you she was. The other tracks she’s on are Fever and How Can I Keep From Singing. We’d recorded Fever together but on the other song I added the fiddle right before she passed away.’

Interest in Eva remains as strong as ever. Dan reveals there are more unissued Eva recordings. ‘There’s enough for at least one more CD, if not two,’ he says. ‘There are a couple of tracks we did when Eva came to Iceland in 1994. They may surface very soon. It was the same with her artwork, she was always creating something, it was a never ending project.’

Other albums by Dan Cassidy are Severn Street (2010 with James Hickman) and A Tribute to Eva Cassidy (2014 with Margriet Sjoerdsma)

(By courtesy of The Birmingham Mail)

3 responses to “Dan Cassidy’s 50th birthday”

  1. marisa allen says:

    Hi Dan,

    Happy birthday. I was looking at Eva’s wiki page and thought of the time I met you in Reykjavik back in 2007, not sure if you’d remember me but I was a bit strapped for funds at the time and you kindly bought my Fishman violin preamp. I hope that Fishman preamp is still going and keeping your violin sounding great. I’m back in Australia since 2008. Haven’t been to Iceland for a long time. Still have treasured memories.

    Very best to you

  2. John Fellows says:

    Hi Dan,
    I thought that I had your e-mail address on my computer but cannot find it.
    Martin Simpson is performing, again. in Shrewsbury on Sunday, 7th May at the Hive, £15 a ticket.
    The Cassidy/Hickman site is unobtainable, tonight – 22.00 on Monday 21th November 2016.
    See you sometime next year,

  3. Mac Macdonald says:

    Hi Dan/
    I had hoped to se you when you played in Bury, Lancs last jear, nut found out about it too late. Any chance that you may make a return date ?

    Secondly did you ever cover “Ashokan Farewell one of my favourite melodies ?
    Thirdly have tried to find your CDs with little success, any ideas where to find them ?

    Inevitably about Eva – I understand that you and she made some private recordings which have never surfaced is there any chance tat you would make
    these available. Niki Lee is releasing “Live at Fleetwoods” soon I Hope.

    Your string accompaniements to Eva’s music was sublime, particularly “Know you by Heart”
    I am fortunate to have a signed Cd of Eva’s – my most treasured possession, she truly was the greatest singer in recording history bar none

    I do hope I will have the opportunity to see you perform in the near future.

    Eva’s birthday soon, miss her so much best regards Mac

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