Remembering Eva Cassidy who died 26 years ago

On 2 November we remember Eva Cassidy (2 February 1963 – 2 November 1996) who died from melanoma 26 years ago. As in her visual art, Eva knew how to get to the essence in her performances of the songs she had chosen. Thanks to her guitar playing and her flawless voice, the ‘Songbird’ will live on forever. As a tribute to this wonderful singer, we selected her most beautiful songs. We realize this list is personal, but here is our Eva Cassidy top 5:

  1. Time After Time (Time After Time, 2000)

Eva recorded her version of Cyndi Lauper’s hit single ‘Time After Time’ at the Maryland Inn in Annapolis. Although not on the album, Eva introduced the song by saying: “This is one of my favorite songs that Cyndi Lauper did.” Many other musicians covered the track, including Miles Davis who recorded an instrumental version that brings out the quality of the melody. On her version, Eva sings and plays guitar while Chris adds a modest bass part, giving the performance a strong foundation. Eva stripped the song back, returning it to its core melody. In fact it is much better than Cyndi Lauper’s version.

  1. A Bold Young Farmer (Somewhere, 2008)

‘A Bold Young Farmer’, a traditional English folk song with a variety of different titles and slightly differing lyrics, was recorded in the Glenn Dale studio in 1995. Eva was absolutely right to introduce this romantic tale to the band’s repertoire. It is hard to imagine that anyone would not be moved by her version as she sings: “And on my heart put a snow white dove/ To let the world know that I died for love”.

Eva Cassidy at Pearl's

Eva Cassidy at Pearl’s

  1. Kathy’s Song (Time After Time, 2000)

The opening tune of the Time After Time album ‘Kathy’s Song’, composed by Paul Simon, is a shortened demo version. Eva’s voice is restrained, matched by her guitar solo, paradoxically adding even greater emotion to the performance.

  1. Wayfaring Stranger (Songbird, 1998)

Eva suggested Keith Grimes to quote a lick from ‘I’m Coming Home Baby’, and he played this in ascending octaves, giving the recording its characteristic strength. Eva invented a bass line for Chris Biondo and asked drummer JuJu House to use brushes. They recorded several takes. The Songbird-version is stripped-down, without the Wurlitzer electric piano that was used on Eva By Heart. This one is more restrained, the tension subtly building up to a real climax.

  1. It Doesn’t Matter Anymore (Imagine, 2002)

‘It Doesn’t Matter Anymore’, taped at Pearl’s in Annapolis in 1994, is the opening track of the Imagine album. Written by Paul Anka, first popularised in 1959 by Buddy Holly immediately after his death in a plane crash, Eva’s version resembles the cover by Linda Ronstadt, who was a major influence on Eva’s singing. Whereas Ronstadt had been in a professional studio with the best equipment and the best musicians, Eva was singing to an audience more interested in their dinner than in her performance. In short, this track was not intended for an album but Eva’s version grabs you immediately!

3 responses to “Remembering Eva Cassidy who died 26 years ago”

  1. Frank says:

    Autumn Leaves

  2. Suzanne Christine Mullen says:

    Her Angelic voice was a gift for us all here on earth and too soon to say goodbye♥

  3. Damian says:

    I know you by heart and who knows where the time goes are my choices

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *