June 17, 2010 9:55 PM   Subscribe

She's been called "the greatest posthumous success story in music history." But when she died of melanoma at age 33, few people outside of the Washington DC-area had heard of Eva Marie Cassidy.

Eva Cassidy’s specialty was cover interpretations of ballads, blues, country, folk, gospel, jazz, soul and pop classics. At the time of her death in November, 1996, she was virtually unknown outside of Washington DC, and had never signed a contract with a label. She'd played small, sometimes half-empty clubs and sold tapes of her music out of the trunk of her car. But the intensely shy young session vocalist, largely self-taught guitarist and keyboardist had released two albums: one recorded in a studio, and another of a live performance recorded in January 1996. She also left behind many audio recordings which her friends shared with each other in her memory. A compilation CD, Songbird was released into relative obscurity in 1997, but slowly gained an underground popularity as alternative radio station dj’s across the country discovered and played her music on the air.

Three years after her death, at the recommendation of one of his producers, BBC Radio 2 host Terry Wogan played Cassidy's "Over the Rainbow" on air during his show "Wake Up To Wogan" without listening to it. At the time, the show had seven million listeners and their response was overwhelming. Four years after its release, in March 2001, Songbird topped the charts in the UK and three songs from the album would go on to become number ones. Since then a number of Cassidy albums have been released posthumously worldwide and her music has been discovered by millions. As of 2008, more than 8 million copies of Cassidy's CDs had been sold; her recordings had gone quadruple platinum in England and platinum in the U.S.

* BBC documentary from March 2001 on Youtube: Part One, Part Two, Part Three (Quality is not great on these clips)

* ABC’s Nightline: Over the Rainbow. Segment is an excellent, touching introduction to her life and music.

* Google has a limited preview of the book Songbird: Eva Cassidy: Her Story By Those Who Knew Her (2001) which was based on interviews with her friends and family.

* Her cousin Leigh Bligh runs, which showcases Eva’s life and work in great, loving detail. See: Interviews / Articles / Bio

* Tears in Heaven (Performed with Mary Ann Redmond at Fleetwoods in 1995. That's Mick Fleetwood on the drums, Eva Cassidy Band member Lenny Williams on piano and Eva's friend and frequent accompanist Chris Biondi on bass.) The audio recording has a neat story -- Vicky Williams, ex-wife of Lenny Williams found it on a moldy tape in her garage.

"So many of Eva Cassidy's favorite songs, Over the Rainbow, Bridge Over Troubled Water, People Get Ready...
were about how it isn't over when it's over. That death doesn't always get the last word.
It turns out that wasn't just her songs. It was her story." ~ Nightline
posted by zarq (62 comments total) 71 users marked this as a favorite
Here's a quick reference list for her most well-known covers:

* At Last
* Songbird
* Over The Rainbow
* What a Wonderful World
* Autumn Leaves
* Bridge Over Troubled Water
* Time After Time
* Fields of Gold
* Natural Woman
posted by zarq at 9:56 PM on June 17, 2010 [4 favorites]

Also... something I discovered while compiling this post:

Katie Melua is a huge fan of Eva, and has obtained permission from Cassidy's family to record several covers using her tracks to form vocal duets.
* Melua's song Far Away Voice is the first song she ever wrote on a guitar. It was inspired by and is dedicated to Eva. (Audio Only / Live AVO Session / Lyrics)
* Biographical segment on Eva on "Duet Impossible" and performance with Katie Melua, singing "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" (If you'd rather just see the music without the rest, click: Somewhere Over The Rainbow. Aired on Christmas Eve, in 2006.
* What A Wonderful World (Released as a single Christmas-time in 2007. Topped the UK chart at #1 when it debuted. All proceeds went to the British Red Cross.)
* What A Wonderful World (Melua performing live on ITV)
posted by zarq at 9:57 PM on June 17, 2010 [2 favorites]

And finally... if you don't have inline Youtube videos enabled in your preferences you may not pick up that three of the words in the second paragraph of the post: "ballads," "jazz" and "folk" link to more than one video. Have fun exploring. :)
posted by zarq at 9:59 PM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

Zarq, you ROCK. After your Iz FPP I was all "I wish zarq would make an Eva Cassidy post!" and look, here it is.
posted by sallybrown at 9:59 PM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

Thank you thank you thank you for this! I had been meaning to do an Eva Cassidy FPP for the longest time but you did it far better than I ever could have dreamed. This is wonderful.

The story of Eva Cassidy is just amazing and heartbreaking. You can hear her soul invested in her music, and we're incredibly lucky that so much of it is available for us to remember her by today.
posted by cvp at 10:00 PM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

:) Enjoy!

And thanks! :)
posted by zarq at 10:00 PM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

And also, Eva makes me proud to be a Marylander.
posted by sallybrown at 10:01 PM on June 17, 2010

I worked for a weekly folk music radio program in Chicago for years, and we got Songbird in early 1998. The host played tracks from in for months.

Her version of "Fields of Gold" is one of the very few select cover songs that, when I heard it for the first time, I thought, "Ah, this is what Sting meant; he just didn't know it."
posted by tzikeh at 10:11 PM on June 17, 2010 [8 favorites]

Forgot this: Previously on Metafilter. (The word "see" links to Cassidy's Tennessee Waltz)
posted by zarq at 10:17 PM on June 17, 2010

In 2003, while I was on vacation in England, someone in Whitby introduced me to Eva Cassidy's music. I've always been grateful. Thanks for this post.
posted by jeri at 10:18 PM on June 17, 2010

I am from DC and I've never heard of her until now. Is this a UK thing?
posted by empath at 10:20 PM on June 17, 2010

If you remember Michelle Kwan's incredible exhibition performance after losing the gold medal at the 2002 Olympics: that was Eva singing "Fields of Gold."
posted by sallybrown at 10:21 PM on June 17, 2010 [3 favorites]

I really don't think it's a UK thing. She has a wide audience.
posted by Danila at 10:23 PM on June 17, 2010

One last link... which really does deserve to be in the post and not in a comment. Wikipedia's page on Eva helped me figure out her timeline.

I'll stop adding stuff now, I promise. :D
posted by zarq at 10:24 PM on June 17, 2010

Why? It's all good so far. Thanks for the post.
posted by cribcage at 10:25 PM on June 17, 2010

"Ah, this is what Sting meant; he just didn't know it."

Quoted for truth. My god, but "Fields of Gold" is just a sad, sad song.
posted by Iridic at 10:28 PM on June 17, 2010 [3 favorites]

Her version of "Fields of Gold" is one of the very few select cover songs that, when I heard it for the first time, I thought, "Ah, this is what Sting meant; he just didn't know it."

You're absolutely right about that.
posted by zarq at 10:29 PM on June 17, 2010

To clarify; I didn't mean all the cover songs I love are of Sting's work. Swap in "that's what the singer/songwriter meant". (facepalm)
posted by tzikeh at 10:44 PM on June 17, 2010

empath - nope, I'm in Chicago and I've been a fan for over ten years. I remember that several years after the folk world took notice, some morning show (Good Morning America?) did a feature on her, and suddenly Songbird was #1 at Amazon. Most people just never went beyond that, I guess.
posted by tzikeh at 10:46 PM on June 17, 2010

Eva's version of Danny Boy is what gets me get weepy.
posted by jabo at 11:01 PM on June 17, 2010 [2 favorites]

Last year sometime, at a weekly gathering a bunch of us old Second Lifers used to do, the DJ played a couple of Cassidy tracks, and everyone was thoroughly impressed. It takes a hell of an artist to do a cover and, on first impression, leave no doubt that it's better than the original. It was unanimous that both Fields of Gold and Time After Time were superior to the Sting and Lauper versions. Over the next couple of weeks, we requested the originals and then Cassidy again, which was quite unusual for us... we usually just sort of hung out and chatted and didn't pay that much attention to the music, but she caught everyone's ear.

I had this expectation that we'd be hearing more from her, and for whatever reason, never bothered to look her up online. I think I was waiting for another couple of songs to pass through my life before moving from interest to actively searching more music out.

What a shock to find that there won't be any more. I'm quite astonished at how much grief I'm feeling for a woman I've had only the briefest exposure to. The songs are beautiful on their own, but the knowledge that she's passed makes them piercing. I just can't believe that incredible voice is already gone.
posted by Malor at 11:27 PM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

"Wade in the Water" has been a favorite of mine for years. I was at a going-away party for a dear, dear friend of mine who was being stationed in Okinawa, and all of a sudden, I had a "WHAT IS THIS SONG??" moment when it came on. He's over there still, and totally thriving, and every time I hear it (including right now) I am overcome with gratitude for having known such cool people in my lifetime. Thanks so much for posting this!
posted by deep thought sunstar at 11:45 PM on June 17, 2010

The album of duets with Chuck Brown, another underappreciated DC legend, is absolutely awesome.
posted by vitia at 11:52 PM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

See also the (linked above) Live at Blues Alley version of "Cheek to Cheek." My god, the woman knew how to start a show.
posted by vitia at 12:01 AM on June 18, 2010 [2 favorites]

I lived in DC when she died and she was sorta-kinda known to people at that time. Known enough to be missed.

That Chuck Brown album, I remember that very well. It was really appreciated because it was two DC gems that no one outside ChocCity knew about even though both are effing national Treasures. That and it's a great album ta boot.

On preview, I echo vitia.
posted by Dagobert at 2:25 AM on June 18, 2010

Huge Eva Cassidy fan, have been for 8 years or so. What a lovely feast of music your post is. Thanks so much zarq!
posted by nickyskye at 3:05 AM on June 18, 2010

I'd been vaguely aware of her by name but hadn't heard any of her recordings until now. Absolutely devastating. Thank you, zarq.
posted by rory at 3:20 AM on June 18, 2010

Nice job, Zarg. An artist I hadn't heard of... Lucky I have the day off to listen to all these!
posted by HuronBob at 3:23 AM on June 18, 2010

"She's been called "the greatest posthumous success story in music history.""

Well... except for Tim Buckley... or Nick Drake. Or Scott Joplin. Or Johann Sebastian Bach, for that matter.

Or Of course, I am judging success by actually composing great music that will be remembered for centuries...

In comparison to the greats , Eva Marie Cassidy is like a cover band without the band.
posted by markkraft at 3:58 AM on June 18, 2010

Ditto on Fields of Gold. I thought Sting's original was fine until I heard hers and then saw Kwan skate to it. Beautiful, poignant, on all counts. What a voice and what a loss to music. I kept watching for your post after your promise, and yay, here it is! What's next?
posted by etaoin at 4:22 AM on June 18, 2010

She was good at what she did, but I'd like to hear the opinions of people who have no idea who she was (or is, as far as they know). From what I've seen, her stuff is always prefaced by some sort of eulogy, making it hard to say whether it could stand on its own. I think I recall hearing (where?) Sting sounding a little reluctant, despite being pressed, to agree that Cassidy's cover of "Fields of Gold" was the best things since sliced bread.
posted by pracowity at 4:25 AM on June 18, 2010

In comparison to the greats , Eva Marie Cassidy is like a cover band without the band.

Now, that's just snobby. There's nothing wrong with being an interpreter of song. Sinatra - who I don't particularly care for, yet is unarguably one of 'the greats' - never wrote any of his numbers. The great opera singers made their name through interpreting and performing the work of others. Hell, two of Jeff Buckley's best known songs were written by other people (Elkie Brooks and Leonard Cohen) and two of my favourite Byrds songs were works by Bob Dylan and the Book of Ecclesiastes.

Anyway. They used her cover of Fields of Gold on a Cancer Research commercial over in the UK. My dad died of cancer, and now each time my mother hears this song it brings her out in tears - which made its popularity in in-store radio quite vexing for a while.
posted by mippy at 4:30 AM on June 18, 2010 [4 favorites]

My wife and I entered our wedding reception to her version of "How Can I keep from Singing." It was a perfect choice.
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:52 AM on June 18, 2010

I don't necessarily have a problem with knocking singers who aren't songwriters. I don't agree with it, but okay, it's a valid point of view to think that "greatness" as a musician should require one to compose as well as perform. But to minimize Eva Cassidy because she won't measure up to Joplin and Bach while presuming that Tim Buckley and Nick Drake will... That's just silly.
posted by cribcage at 4:52 AM on June 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

pracowity: I would say there are a couple of examples even in this thread of people who formed good opinions of her without knowing of her, her circumstance, etc.

I would also say her death is a cautionary tale to anyone who blows off going back to the doctor to find out what was wrong.

I know the people who worked with her and put her albums together, performed with her, etc. Some serious studio people who absolutely revered her ability. She never needed a second take on a vocal...unless she was unhappy with it. Always perfect. Her live album at Blues Alley, which is tremendous, was recorded when she had a terrible cold, felt she had no voice, and is still mesmerizing.

Her family, by the way, has been incredibly unfriendly towards...essentially nasty to the people who helped her make music. Maybe because those are the people who know that the family was dismissive, in the "get-a-real-job" sense about Eva's career when she was alive. Once she became posthumously famous, they got way more respectful of her ability and began devoting themselves to tending her bank acc-- I mean, memory. Remember kids, Mommie and Daddy will approve of you if you get rich and die.
posted by umberto at 4:56 AM on June 18, 2010 [4 favorites]

Well... except for Tim Buckley... or Nick Drake. Or Scott Joplin. Or Johann Sebastian Bach, for that matter.

I made this post because I like her work and wanted to share it with people. Not terribly interested in debating silly semantics with you about the wording. I hoped that people would hear her work, read her story and judge whether they found it interesting and enjoyable for themselves. And for those who may have heard one or two of her tracks but not known her story, perhaps offer a chance for them to learn more.


Upon their deaths, all four of the people you list were arguably more widely known than Eva. Joplin was known as the "King of Ragtime," Bach was hailed as one of Europe's greatest organists, and Buckley and Drake both had gotten record contracts, made albums and achieved mediocre success during their lifetimes. Their music was known to the public. It was revived, and in the case of Bach, perpetually so. By contrast, Eva's music didn't experience a revival of interest, but was instead discovered and apparently appreciated by a wider audience.

I would be willing to bet you really can find other musicians or musical groups who have achieved greater posthumous success after being discovered out of obscurity. But IMO these examples aren't it.

Or Of course, I am judging success by actually composing great music that will be remembered for centuries...

Cassidy was not a composer, so is the comparison accurate? And, as mippy points out, that sort of reasoning makes Sinatra (and others) a hack. Sometimes a cover artist changes a composition so much that it becomes a unique creation.
posted by zarq at 5:04 AM on June 18, 2010 [2 favorites]

(Long time Eva Cassidy Fan) - we need a special button for Favourite x 1000 - thanks zarq!
posted by ceri richard at 5:07 AM on June 18, 2010

Great post, zarq, thanks!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:15 AM on June 18, 2010

"She's been called "the greatest posthumous success story in music history.""

Well... except for Tim Buckley... or Nick Drake. Or Scott Joplin. Or Johann Sebastian Bach, for that matter.

Or Of course, I am judging success by actually composing great music that will be remembered for centuries...

Exposing my philistine nature, but I still haven't heard of Nick Drake or Tim Buckley, despite their fame resounding down through the centuries. At first I thought you meant Jeff Buckley, who got famous for covering a Leonard Cohen song and then dying, but no. Too bad, that would have been cute and ironical.

I dunno, dismissing a performer as a musician because they weren't the composer.... I think you confuse 'musician' and 'composer'. Are you saying Fred Astaire wasn't a great dancer because Hermes Pan did most of the choreography?
posted by umberto at 5:30 AM on June 18, 2010 [2 favorites]

pracowity: I'd like to hear the opinions of people who have no idea who she was (or is, as far as they know).

Like I said, a whole group of us last year, who had no idea she was dead, were all very impressed with Fields of Gold and Time after Time, to the point that we followed up in later weeks and did comparisons with the originals. She caught our collective ear enough that we spent some time actively talking about it. As I recall, that group of ten or so people was unanimous that her versions were better.

I think what I was actually waiting for, before looking her up and getting enthusiastic about her as a singer, was something original.... the covers were a clear indicator that she was good, but I was waiting for something that was truly hers.
posted by Malor at 5:47 AM on June 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

Her version of Wade in the Water was so widely used in lindy hop scenes around the country that it's become a cliche - but it's still one of the songs that gets people up and dancing at 3AM after 7 hours of dancing at exchanges because of how good it is. Thanks for this FPP - it's good to hear other stuff!
posted by ChuraChura at 5:50 AM on June 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

markkraft writes: In comparison to the greats , Eva Marie Cassidy is like a cover band without the band.

I'm sorry, but, that's just a stupid and callously disrespectful statement. Not everyone in music is cut out to be a songwriter or composer. Some people are just ("just", ha!) great singers, and their job, their place in the scheme of things, is to sing. Greatly. To interpret the work of songwriters and composers, to bring new life to it, to put it into a new place, showcase it in a new way, to lend their special, personal talents to it. To belittle that is to belittle a whole enormous segment of great singers throughout the history of popular music.

Anyway, if what I've written above is not getting through to you, just repeat this word over and over, and eventually enlightenment will be attained: Aretha... Aretha... Aretha... Aretha...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:51 AM on June 18, 2010 [6 favorites]

Ain't no sunshine when she's gone.

posted by stormpooper at 5:54 AM on June 18, 2010 [3 favorites]

Thinking about Eva Cassidy reminds me of the old music business joke. An RCA employee goes to see his boss and asks him if he wants the good news or the bad news first. The boss opts for the good news, which is that Elvis Presley's just died. The bad news is that Glenn Miller's plane has just landed...

MY own feeling is that Ms Cassidy was a very good singer (my daughter would play Songbird incessantly so I'm very familiar with it), but her choice of material was kind of obvious and the arrangements were equally obvious and kind of perfunctory. It's hard (for me anyway) to escape the feeling that the fact that she died in tragic circumstances was the defining 'thing' about her. Her USP, perhaps. If that hadn't happened, would we know who she was, or would she still be one of the thousands of talented, gifted people who never ever make it beyond churning out covers in bars to disinterested drinkers?

Whatever, her death was a gift for those who owned the rights to those recordings and they certainly wasted no effort in extracting all the cash they could from them. Katie Melua's posthumous duet with her is not only scraping the bottom of the barrel, it's taking the barrel apart, pulping the wood and melting the nails down. Yeuch.
posted by peterkins at 5:55 AM on June 18, 2010 [3 favorites]

You know, my mother has no idea who Nick Drake is, but knows Eva Cassidy. If the true measure of how famous someone is whether the average mum has heard of them, well, I think zarq is right.
posted by mippy at 5:57 AM on June 18, 2010 [2 favorites]

What a great post. When I was compiling songs for my wedding in 2002 I somehow stumbled over Eva Cassidy and have been grateful ever since. Her voice and guitar are so incredibly powerful they stir emotions, give goosebumps and an occasional frog in the throat or something in the eye.
posted by fatbaq at 6:06 AM on June 18, 2010

Really amazing post, thanks!

Her version of Autumn Leaves gives me the craziest goosebumps every time I hear it.
posted by brand-gnu at 6:39 AM on June 18, 2010

Or Of course, I am judging success by actually composing great music that will be remembered for centuries...Eva Marie Cassidy is like a cover band without the band.

By your definition, then, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra isn't a success. It is, however, a pretty good cover band.
posted by tzikeh at 6:40 AM on June 18, 2010 [4 favorites]

Sometime in the mid-nineties, I let my mother talk me out of driving up to the 9:30 club in DC to see Eva Cassidy sing just before I went back to college. I finally gave in because, hey, I would have other opportunities to see her perform live. I never did, of course, and it has been a huge regret for me.

What attracted me to her music then is the same thing that attracts me now: her gift for interpreting much-loved, much-heard songs in such a way that they felt new and unique and riveting and distinctive and magnetic in her hands. Like great stylists, she brought more than a mastery of the song and mastery of her voice to the songs, but I've never been able to describe that extra amorphous breath of life/connection/perspective/persona thing that elevates some singers above other great singers.

Maybe I'm weird, but I don't think about her death when I play her songs or suggest her to friends or talk about her. It sometimes come up ("I bet she's great in concert," one friend said, and another came back and said accusingly "You didn't tell me she was dead!" I pointed out that I didn't tell her Dinah Washington was dead either.), but usually well after introduction to the music.
posted by julen at 7:01 AM on June 18, 2010

I was so ready to snark the thread with one of those "your favorite artist..." lines.

But just for the heck of it I clicked on a video link and thought, no, no, no.... she's singing it all wrong! And then it hit me.... no, no, no, the rest of the world has been singing it all wrong all this time. Over the Rainbow, Time After Time, It's a Wonderful World.... she has re-definitized all these songs for me, and rather than just standards, they have become favorties.

Now I have to go away and dry my tears.
posted by Doohickie at 7:14 AM on June 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

She's from Maryland! Maryland! Not DC.

[end small-state pride]
posted by escabeche at 7:31 AM on June 18, 2010

She's from Maryland! Maryland! Not DC.

Errrr. Oops. :(

Maryland is in the DC area, right?

*sigh* Sorry about that.

posted by zarq at 7:44 AM on June 18, 2010

Pracowity: About a year ago, I heard Eva Cassidy's cover of "Fields of Gold" on the radio. As soon as the DJ announced the artist, I pulled over and bought the album (through my phone) on the spot. I didn't know who she was or what her story was, I just wanted more of that.
posted by adamrice at 8:01 AM on June 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

She's been called "the greatest posthumous success story in music history."

Wha? By who?

Hell, two of Jeff Buckley's best known songs

Except markkraft cited Tim Buckley, not Jeff.

Eva Cassidy is to pop music what Kenny G is to jazz. Her voice is fine, but it's really soulless. Part of it is the almost consistently boring choice of songs she chooses to cover. Time After Time? Fields of Gold? Tears in Heaven? Really?

Even when she sings a good song, she sounds like a robot (okay, a robot with a nice voice) who hasn't a clue what she's singing about. "The eagle flies on Friday / Saturday I go out to play / Sunday I go to church and pray..." her intonation suggests that she doesn't know what the first means, and doesn't do either of the second and third. There's no conviction in anything she sings. She's like an artist who can draw perfectly but has no opinion about anything she draws.

When she sings, "At last, my love has come along / my lonely days are over / and life is like a song / oh yeah" she doesn't sell it on any level whatever. She neither sounds like her lonely days are over or that she even had any lonely days!

And of course I recognize I'm in the minority (in this thread) and your favorite band sucks and all that ... but her music just reminds me of the absolutely dreadful covers Rod Stewart does of American standards. Whenever I'm in the car with my mom and she has that on I ask her why oh why can't she just listen to someone who means what they're singing. Put on Chet Baker and hear the regret and loss in his voice; put on Billie Holiday and hear the love and sorrow. "What's Rod got?" I ask. "He sounds nice," says Mom. Indeed, and so does Eva Cassidy.
posted by dobbs at 8:25 AM on June 18, 2010 [3 favorites]

I've known of Eva Cassidy since I was a child, but didn't really appreciate her songs until the last few years or so. Her voice is so pretty, like glass. It always surprises me that she died so recently - for some reason I think of her as singer from the 70s.
posted by ghost dance beat at 8:30 AM on June 18, 2010

On the other hand, I do somewhat agree with dobbs - I remember listening to one of her albums that a friend had and thinking, "My god, this is boring". My appreciation is more for the technical side of her seemingly effortless voice, especially since I am currently taking voice lessons for the first time, and definitely do not have that natural ease.
posted by ghost dance beat at 8:38 AM on June 18, 2010

Birthday was a couple of days ago . . . but it is still the week of my birthday. So I am taking this fantastic post of a singer I love as the best present of the week. Thanks so much, Zarq.

What amazes me still about Cassidy, and I do believe I have listened to every single thing she ever recorded anywhere, is her ability to handle any genre she tried. Ironically, I also think that is why she didn't gain widespread recognition during her life . . . she was too hard to categorize.
posted by bearwife at 8:51 AM on June 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

dobbs, the reference was made in at least two of the videos I watched prior to posting, including this one and I'm nearly positive it or something very similar to it was also said in one of the many NPR segments on her that I listened to while compiling the post. Whether accurate or not, it seems undeniable that her music has become extremely popular since her death.

Just an aside... this post was originally nearly double the size it is now. I wound up trimming a lot of links trying to turn what had become a total mess into something coherent and suitable for Metafilter. So, some of the comments in the post may have originally been cited to a link but weren't in the final version. That's entirely my fault -- brevity isn't my strong suit.
posted by zarq at 9:01 AM on June 18, 2010

bearwife, happy birthday and many more! :)
posted by zarq at 9:02 AM on June 18, 2010

In comparison to the greats , Eva Marie Cassidy is like a cover band without the band.

Songwriting/composition are probably underappreciated in the popular arena, and I too can be a bit snobby about the fame of the latest melismatic cover diva. But I think most people care less about whether the person performing the music wrote it than that they have an experience with it... and rightfully so.

And Eva Cassidy did that for me. I've found the emotion in many of the songs she does brought into higher relief. Art's somewhat subjective, so if you don't have any kind of positive experience with her work, well, OK, the truth is, I don't like all her covers either, so this isn't that foreign an idea. But on the other hand, I have no problem putting her up with Nick Drake or J.S. Bach, even though I can also draw distinctions, even though instead of creating the art from scratch, she interpreted other people's work, because in the final analysis she brought me experiences with other people's work that I hadn't had before.
posted by weston at 9:28 AM on June 18, 2010

I first discovered her back when the Washington Post used to have its own MP3 download site highlighting local (DC) talent. I had no idea she was no longer alive.
posted by tommasz at 5:38 PM on June 18, 2010

This is what makes MF stellar. Thank you.
posted by MrChowWow at 8:28 PM on June 18, 2010

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