‘Eva touched my soul with her voice’

Audiotapes and videotapes from the 1990’s prove that Eva Cassidy and Mick Fleetwood joined the stage more than once. Eva Cassidy’s close friends keep these tapes as private memories, but Niki Lee, the former wife of pianist Lenny Williams, donated her audio-recording Eva Cassidy live at Fleetwood’s to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame where it will remain in the museum’s archives. We asked Fleetwood Mac’s drummer and co-founder Mick Fleetwood to share his memories of Eva Cassidy

Do you remember your gigs with The Eva Cassidy band?

I sure do, I will never forget Eva Cassidy!

Can you tell us more about your music club Fleetwood’s?

In 1994 I opened this club in an office building in Alexandria, Virginia. Many local bands performed here and sometimes I joined in for a couple of songs. The Eva Cassidy Band played several times at Fleetwood’s.

Mick Fleetwood

Mick Fleetwood

What did you think of them?

I was impressed; I really liked their mix of American and European folk rock.

Did you hear how good Eva Cassidy was at that time?

Eva Cassidy’s performances moved me. Her voice was magical. She was brilliant, she had a childlike pureness, but at the same time her voice sounded very mature. She knew exactly what she was doing.

Is it true that you offered to make a record together?

One day, Blue Note president Bruce Lundvall came to Fleetwood’s to listen to the Eva Cassidy band. He seemed to be positive about signing Eva Cassidy. When I met him I told him that I would be more than happy to play the drums, because I really believed in this project.

Eva

Eva Cassidy

Why didn’t this happen?

Eva had a meeting with the record company in New York and when I asked her about it she said: “Nothing happened, I walked out and I said I am not going to do this, I am no longer interested.” They wanted to make her music more accessible, but she remained true to her own essence.

How would you characterize Eva?

I see her in the first place as a song interpreter. She had enough power and conviction to do that. But she did not want to play the game of the music industry. She didn’t sing to please other people, but because she liked to sing and to make music. Those who witnessed her on stage remember her performances as unique and emotional moments. When Eva covered a song, it was like hearing it again for the first time.

Christine McVie & Mick Fleetwood

Christine McVie & Mick Fleetwood

What are your favourite Eva Cassidy renditions?

I love ‘Songbird’ for obvious reasons (it’s a Fleetwood Mac song from their album Rumours). She played it several times in our club. Christine McVie (the original vocalist and the composer of Songbird) loves Eva Cassidy’s version as well. And I admire Eva’s rendition of Over the Rainbow. I still listen to her music a lot. Eva touched my soul with her voice.

4 responses to “‘Eva touched my soul with her voice’”

  1. Katrina says:

    Thank you for your contribution to Eva Cassidy’s heritage Niki Lee!

  2. Reese Purvis says:

    The first time I heard Eva Cassidy sing Time After Time I wept. She reminded me of the love I had for my 7 year old daughter who I felt I was losing at the time because of a divorce.Eva Cassidy’s performance touched me at my core and helped me see that because of the power of Love I would never lose my daughter. Eva Cassidy was an Angel and one of the greatest performers ever. She still lives She can never die. The hope and love she shared with me and thousands of others is eternal.

  3. Niki Lee says:

    hello! this is niki lee. it’s true, i have the only recording of a particular night at fleetwood’s in 1994. mick fleetwood sat in with eva’s band. there are 20 songs. she introduces him. he shushes the audience for her. her record company has refused to release the recording for over 20 years. that’s why i donated it to the hall of fame; so part of her history and her legacy could be preserved for the public. stay safe out there. niki

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