It’s no secret that I love music. I have probably the most varied, if not eclectic, tastes in music. There’s more I like than I don’t like. And it seems that every day my eyes are opened to new artists making amazing new music.
But none have captured my heart in recent years like Eva Cassidy.
I was introduced to Eva Cassidy in 2000 by my former roommate. I was working at my computer and he was playing a CD that I had never heard before. I asked him who it was, and he told me about Eva Cassidy- a singer from the DC/Maryland area who died in 1996 of complications from Melanoma, and never enjoyed commercial success while she was alive. She performed mainly covers, but made them her own. And with that, he played her versions of “Over the Rainbow” and Sting’s “Fields of Gold” for me. I had never heard the songs interpreted so emotionally and beautifully. Between her story and her singing, I was hooked.
This was, of course, at the time when Napster was in its earliest incarnation– before the legislation that shut it down and made such downloading illegal. I promptly sat myself down and found as much of her music as I could, and in a few hours I had amassed a fairly large Eva library. I had to hear more of this chanteuse that had just touched my heart.
The more I learned about her, the more I became a fan. And as the years went on, the releases of new music kept coming. Eventually I replaced my “illegal” music with “legit” versions: The Other Side (1992), an album she recorded with fellow local musician Chuck Brown; Live in Blues Alley (1996), which was released before her death; Eva By Heart (1997), the only true studio album she ever recorded; Songbird (1998), the compilation album (with some new material) that propelled Eva into the limelight around the world; Time After Time (2000), a second album of all-new material; Imagine (2002), featuring even more new material; and American Tune (2003), which was the last album of new material for five years. After American Tune, another compilation album, Wonderful World (2004) was released, and it seemed the well had finally run dry.
Last week while browsing around iTunes, I happened to type in Eva Cassidy’s name. I surprised to find that she had another new album coming out, and that I hadn’t heard about it yet. I clicked on “Somewhere,” which was available as a pre-order and saw it was coming out in TWO days. I could hardly believe my good luck, and instantly purchased it. I downloaded it as soon as it was available, and I’m happy to report that the well has definitely not run dry. “Somewhere,” the title tune, was co-authored by Eva Cassidy herself– one of two titles where she contributed lyrics. This is the first time that Eva fans have been given the opportunity to see what really could have been, had she lived.
It was somewhat melancholy to hear the song, which is quite powerful. I only hope it can be the song that finally propells her into stardom in the US. She’s had incredible success in the UK and in other countries, but in the US we just haven’t “got it” yet. So I’m doing my part here, today, and encouraging you to experience her music for yourself. Then tell your friends and get them to listen.