Eva Cassidy Album
She was called "an unclassifiable and inspiring musician" by Jazz Times magazine. The Washington Post said "she could sing anything—folk, blues, pop, jazz, R&B, gospel—and make it sound like it as the only music that mattered," which may explain why the Washington Area Music Association honored her as Best Female Vocalist in four separate categories: blues, jazz- contemporary, jazz-traditional, and roots rock/traditional R&B.
Though almost painfully shy and with virtually no pretensions to stardom, singer Eva Cassidy still made a huge impact on the music scene in her native Washington, D.C. She possessed an "aw shucks" attitude toward her own talent, but others, whose lives she touched with her voice, were awestruck: people like her producer and friend Chris Biondo, musical partners like Chuck Brown, D.C.-area critics and music lovers, and even Blue Note Records President and longtime music industry veteran, Bruce Lundvall, who stated that, "Eva Cassidy had the most extraodinary and singular voice I had heard in a very, very long time, distinctive not only for its power but because of its timbre when she sang quietly. It was so very mysterious—it would just freeze me."
Cassidy died of melanoma at the premature age of 33 in November of 1996, leaving a grieving family and music lovers, but not before also leaving behind a scant few recordings of her one-of-a- kind voice.
Growing up in a musical family, Cassidy began singing at age 9. Her father played acoustic bass, her brother fiddle. She sang with a couple rock bands in high school, and did a little county singing one early summer. Eventually, a friend brought her to Biondo's studio, and Biondo was blown away by her forceful voice.
Though demue in front of audiences, she ventured into local clubs and began warming to performing live when she started realizing that her singing touched and affected people. Musical insiders say that Eva Cassidy was on the verge of breaking through to a national audience at the time of her death. Less than three weeks after her passing, her locally-released live recording, Live At Blues Alley, was honored by the Washington Area Music Association (WAMA) with nine Wammies, including the overall Artist of the Year and Album of the Year awards. Cassidy was also inducted into the WAMA Hall of Fame, which was, according to the Washington Post, a"a gesture inspired more by sentiment than by any actual fame garnered by the sadly under- noticed Cassidy."
Now her life is celebrated with Songbird, a posthumously-released album from Los Angeles- based Blix Street Records, featuring tracks from Live At Blues Alley and Eva By Heart (a studio album released locally in the D.C. area in late 1997), along with one track from The Other Side (Eva's 1992 duet album with Chuck Brown). Following the release of Songbird, Blix Street is also releasing Live At Blues Alley and Eva By Heart, the first national release of both albums.
Grammy-winning music writer Joel E Siegel, writing in the liner notes for Eva By Heart calls Eva "one of the greatest voices in her generation," and states that her music "is the treasure she has bequeathed to us. [It] commemorates an extraordinary spirit and marks the beginning of an inspiring musical legend."
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