In another ‘impressive talent’ segment, I am highlighting the work of Eva Cassidy, an incredible singer that could not be pigeon-holed by the record companies. As a result, and the fact that she died very young, her work has not been widely known. I’d like to do my part to change that.
I first heard of Ms. Cassidy when I posted the lyrics to Danny Boy on Facebook. A friend, Joe Rice, commented that he liked ‘the Eva Cassidy version.’ Frankly, I’d been partial to the version by Celtic Woman but I decided to listen to Joe’s recommendation. And there, my appreciation of Eva Cassidy began.
Ms. Cassidy was born in Washington, DC in 1963. A shy girl, she found her place in music. But she was never a factor in the mainstream of music for three reasons. First was her shyness – she hated performing before crowds. So most of her public appearances were in small venues such as coffee houses in the Washington, DC area.
Second, even when she came to the attention of a few record producers, her style – she tended to freely mix songs from jazz, blues, folk, country, gospel, and pop within a single set – defied the producers’ desire to ‘define’ her.
And finally, she died young. She was only 33 when she died from the effects of melanoma which had spread to her bones and lungs.
However, her two self-published CDs made their way to a British DJ, who was so taken with her style that he played them over and over. Soon, Eva Cassidy had a following ‘across the pond.’ Eventually, her work was rediscovered in America.
Even though she is still relatively unknown, she is being discovered by new fans – like me – every day.
The Eva Cassidy Story
The following is a 19 minute special on her life, produced by ABC.