Let me introduce you to Eva Cassidy

Yes, the ladies know that the best seller Fifty Shades of Grey can teach a girl a few things. But who knew that one of them would be a gem of a musical find?

 

I won’t go into what my thoughts are about the best-selling porn, um … I mean erotic fiction novel Fifty Shades of Grey. I suppose that’s another post, and one I’m not sure I have the inclination to write (although you never know.) I can only allow you to get so far inside my head, ya know. Wink wink.

Suffice it to say, that after getting to know the lead character of Christian Grey by the end of book one, I was interested enough in the guy to google some of the music mentioned in the follow-up Fifty Shades Darker.

And I’m so very glad I did!

The minute I heard Eva Cassidy’s voice I was spellbound. The first video I’m showing you is perhaps the song she is best known for, in the circles where she is known at all. I’ve always loved this tune, everyone has. It’s almost like an anthem and I thought no one could do it the justice that Judy Garland did.

But then I experienced Eva.

Her interpretation of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” left me so moved I wasn’t even able to cry. I simply sat and stared for a few seconds, trying to take in what I had just heard.

Eva’s voice, while being sweet; is also powerful and lilting. Her phrasing is such that I’ve rarely heard; the emphasis on certain words, the drawing out of others. She’s a captivating image onstage; a beautiful blond who by all accounts had no idea she was beautiful, simply sitting and playing her guitar.

I quickly searched out her library on YouTube. The mix of genres Eva covered was incredible, and also the death of her where the record companies were concerned. Several times she was looked at by major labels who wanted her to declare herself an artist of one style or another.

And Eva said no.

She loved and performed many different kinds of music. From jazz to folk to pop and back again. She wasn’t about to bend to the pressure to pigeon-hole herself.

After all, she was only in her early thirties when all this was going on. She probably thought she had a lot of time ahead to be recognized and accepted for the kind of performer she wanted to be.

It breaks my heart to say that wasn’t true. Eva died in 1996 of malignant melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer. A few years earlier she’d had a mole removed, in ’96 she felt a horrible ache in her hips that she thought was from being on a step-ladder painting one of her murals …

And well, it wasn’t from that. Cancer had spread throughout her body and she was given just months to live.

A few weeks before she died, Eva performed for the last time at a benefit for cancer. She chose to sing this. (I’m warning you to get a kleenex.)

I know. I know how you feel. It’s said there wasn’t a dry eye in the room.

Here’s a couple more of Eva’s live stints and recorded work that will show you her fantastic range and amazing talent.

Take for example? The way she can sing the blues!

Or rock and roll …

I adore Eva’s version of this country music classic.

And I’ll end with my favorite song of hers. I listen to this every night on my walks. I love to walk just before the sun goes down during Fall, and I let Eva and this folk song illustrate the scenery for me.

So, that’s Eva.

She never did achieve popularity outside of the Washington D.C. area where she resided during her lifetime.

She’s caught on posthumously due to word of mouth, certain public radio stations and now the Fifty Shades book trilogy.

If you weren’t aware of this magical artist, then welcome to my love affair. If you had heard of her? I hope that this post was a solid reminder of what we lost on that November day sixteen years ago.

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Photo Credit: evacassidy.org

3 Comments on “Let me introduce you to Eva Cassidy

  1. You introduced me to Eva via a YouTube video not long ago, but didn’t mention her death.

    Strangely, I feel like I just lost a friend.

    • You’re right. I didn’t mention her death on Facebook. Sorry! I know, I was so sad when I found out.

      Completely tragic.

      • I felt the same way after reading the book “A Soprano On Her Head”. As a non-fiction written in first person, it gave you a sense of peeking into the life of the author, Eloise Ristad. It wasn’t until I had finished the book that I discovered the author had died in a boating accident on the day my daughter was born.

        I sat there and cried, mourning someone I had never met.