Eva Cassidy Album
The Eva Cassidy Band is:
Keith Grimes, electric guitar
Produced and mixed by Chris Biondo, except Anniversary Song produced by Lenny Williams and mixed by Dave Cannon, Easy Street Dream produced by Steve Digman and mixed by Geoff Gillette, and Penny To My Name produced by Roger Henderson.
Studio tracks recorded by Chris Biondo, except Way Beyond the Blue recorded by Ned Judy. Live tracks recorded January 3, 1996 at Blues Alley by Sound by Charlie and mixed by Eric Lemley, except Time After Time and Woodstock recorded live by Chris Biondo at The Maryland Inn, Annapolis, Maryland.
Mastered at Capitol Records by Robert Vosgien.
'I think what she does comes from a really deep spiritual place, and that's what I think people connect with...her motivating factor was music and her artistic sensibility. She wasn't worried about commercial considerations, she didn't dilute what she did it was always pure.' --Keith Grimes
If you love music, the kind of music that will enrich your life, then you have to love the music of Eva Cassidy. The reasons for that claim might seem obvious. She selected great songs and sang them in such a way that even the most familiar material was rejuvenated by her interpretation. But until you have heard an Eva Cassidy recording, you cannot fully appreciate why her fans so vividly remember when they discovered her voice...or once they had been so moved by it, why they need to share the music with others. There is a cool Leiber and Stoller song that says, 'Some cats know and some cats don't.' It's the same with Eva. If you know, you'll feel it too.
In 1996, when Eva died at the age of 33, she was unknown outside the music scene revolving around Washington, D.C. But two years later, when a compilation of tracks called Songbird was released, a natural process began. Copies of Eva's album simply sold whenever a track was played on the radio. There was no hyped-up marketing campaign, no glossy videos and, of course, no media merry-go-round of personal appearances. There was just the music and the heartfelt way listeners responded to it. The word spread.
In the U.K., millions heard Eva Cassidy for the first time on Terry Wogan's BBC Radio 2 breakfast show produced by the musically astute Paul Walters. The album was fully embraced by the country's most popular national station and, in programmes free from rigid playlist strictures, Eva was heard in the company of anyone from The Beatles to Madonna. Listeners were mesmerised and Songbird quietly outsold albums by star names on major labels. In other countries, wherever there is a broadcaster to champion her music, the natural process begins again.
But while it is satisfying to see quality triumphing despite today's obsession with slick marketing and image creation, there is the nagging question: why only now? Eva never lived to know that she could move people all over the world. Her mentor, Chris Biondo, who played bass and ran a local studio, had first made recordings with her in the late 1980's, yet the only solo album released while she was alive came a decade later. Her devoted manager, Al Dale, laboured for years to secure a major record label. He was constantly disappointed by executives who were confused by a singer who could re- invent 'Over The Rainbow' one moment, belt out a steamy blues the next and then turn to a plaintive folk song about a deflowered servant girl. Loving such a wide range of music, Eva refused to compromise, so the business let her slip away.
Her friends tell how she was not that concerned about singing with a major record company. After all, she was attracting a growing crowd of appreciative fans who followed her to various small clubs, and she enjoyed enough time to indulge her deep love of nature. Almost every Sunday was spent walking or bicycling with her mother in the countryside. This lack of ambition may be one of the reasons her music sounds so true. Many of the soulful performances heard on posthumous releases were never recorded with an album in mind. She just loved to sing those songs.
The greatest vocalists are able to charge the atmosphere in a room the moment they begin to sing and often their personality bears no relation to their singing voice. In concert, the brilliant Sandy Denny would giggle, swear or nervously tell a joke but then when she sang, she instantly created an entirely new emotional ambience. It was the same with Eva. Her unpretentious, shy onstage manner gave no warning that, within moments, she would take you deep into the heart of a lyric. The recordings that remain of Eva Cassidy reveal an extraordinary gift to make you really experience the power of a song. Only the best singers can do that.