‘Eva Cassidy was that good, she deserved to be known’

Exactly on time, Chris Biondo’s off-road vehicle stops in front of Washington Dulles Airport. “Katrina?” he asks. When I confirm this, he says impatiently: “Get in. Quick. I have a lot to show you.” I throw my suitcase on the back seat.

Anita Court

Anita Court

At high speed he takes me to the places that were important in Eva Cassidy’s life. We stop in front of a cute white house on Anita Court in Rockville (Maryland) on the North side of Washington DC and leave the car. ‘This used to be my recording studio. I haven’t  been here for quite some time. See that lawn down there? That’s where I met Eva. That afternoon I had recorded music with the guys of Method Actor. Everything was finished except the vocals. The singer hadn’t arrived yet and I was pretty angry. It’s always the same with those divas, I thought. I walked outside and saw Eva. She had been too shy to knock on the door or just walk in. ‘Sit down,’ I said irritated. I started the recording and she began to sing. My bad mood disappeared like snow in the sun. What a voice! I’d never heard anything like it before.’

Chris' former recording studio.

Chris’ former recording studio.

Chris is wearing a dark blue bandana. He talks in a straightforward way. I can imagine that Eva became a bit timid when she was with him. “We recorded all the music within half an hour. She only needed one take per song. Unbelievable. You rarely see that. She left as quietly as she had come and I thought: I’ll probably never see her again.”

Eva, Chris and Cat

Eva, Chris and Cat

We walk back to the car. Chris starts the engine again and we continue our journey. “How did you meet her again?” I ask. “A few months later, she suddenly popped up again,” says Chris, who keeps an eye on his navigation screen. “She asked if she could record a few songs. I didn’t expect her to come back that quick. She stayed around, obviously feeling safe enough with me. She made a beautiful drawing of Bernice, my dog. I liked it so much that she didn’t have to pay me for using the studio. Eventually we got into a relationship. She recorded dozens of songs with me. Other artists who recorded with me used her talent as well. She was not only very good, she also worked very fast. Her voice can be heard on many recordings, such as Experience Unlimited’s album on which she contributed the line: ‘I wanna thank you pimps and players’. She preferred to sing in the dark, her favorite spot the broom closet.”

One of the venues where the Eva Cassidy Band used to play

One of the venues where the Eva Cassidy Band used to play

We drive into a shopping area in North Bethesda and Chris looks around. “Everything has changed here. See that Pub over there? That used to be a live music venue. The Eva Cassidy Band played there a couple of times.” “Was it your idea to start a band?” I ask as we walk in to see if Chris can find back the exact spot of where they performed. “Eva was that good, I thought she deserved to be known. So I tried very hard to gather some good musicians around her. Initially the line-up changed quite often, but after a while we had a fairly fixed band: drummer Raice McLeod, pianist Lenny Williams and guitarist Keith Grimes. I played bass.” “Astonishing that you did not become famous immediately,” I reply.

Chris Biondo

Chris Biondo

“That’s odd indeed!,” says Chris, “People who came to these places were not always interested in the music. They often ignored us. The worst gig was when the owner said: ‘Here is your money, you can go home.’ Believe it or not, Eva didn’t mind that at all!” Chris shakes his head in unbelief and walks out again. He opens the car door for me. A little later we’re on the road again.

Katrina Mus

To be continued

4 responses to “‘Eva Cassidy was that good, she deserved to be known’”

  1. Laura Bligh says:

    I’m skeptical of this tale. There are tons of incorrect details, plus photos apparently taken from my website and elsewhere. Is it fan fiction?

  2. Michelle says:

    I first heard Eva’s voice while watching
    Michelle Kwan ice state to Stings “Fields of Gold”. I looked up Eva Cassidy and found out she had died. I was very sad.
    Since then I bought several CD’s by her and a book and video tape also. She was also a great artist. She was a very sincere person and was genuine and oh what a voice.

  3. John Chapman says:

    I’m a huge fan of Eva’s music. A have as much of her material in my collection as I can find. Eva, indeed had the voice of a true angel. I am very interested in any
    information & any music of Eva’s & the band as well. I was introduced to Eva’s music by a brother who lived in the same area & had seen her play several times. Regards,
    A true fan. John D. Chapman

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