Have you ever had one of those moments where you heard a musician or singer for the first time and it was the beginning of an obsession? When I first heard Eva Cassidy’s version of the Cyndi Lauper song “Time After Time” on an episode of Smallville, it really captured my attention. A simple guitar arrangement and Eva’s voice. And oh, what a voice.
Since then I’ve picked up most of Eva’s albums and each one has a subtle power, whether she’s singing songs like Sting’s “Fields of Gold,” Curtis Mayfield’s “People Get Ready,” or the classic song “Over the Rainbow.” Every performance seems genuine. Every performance communicates passion and emotion in a way few artists have for me. Tragically, she lost a battle with melanoma at age 33 in 1996. But thankfully there are many recordings she made during her lifetime that have slowly been released to her fans since then.
The Best of Eva Cassidy was released on November 13, 2012, a day before what would have been her 50th birthday. The album includes 19 songs such as the classics “Danny Boy,” “Autumn Leaves,” “Wade in the Water,” Paul Simon’s “Kathy’s Song,” and a previously unreleased version of “You Take My Breath Away” by Claire Hamill. Though many of these I had heard on previous albums, I’d not heard her renditions of John Lennon’s “Imagine” or the classic “What a Wonderful World,” made famous by Louis Armstrong in 1967. Weighing in at nearly 80 minutes of music, this is a great collection of familiar and less familiar tunes all in one place.
My favorites will always be the tunes from her album Time After Time, which was the first album of hers I ever picked up. Those songs include “Kathy’s Song,” “Ain’t No Sunshine” (Bill Withers) and “Time After Time” (though I was sad they left out her rendition of “Woodstock” by Joni Mitchell). Other great songs in this collection include her renditions of “True Colors” (Cyndi Lauper) and “Early Morning Rain” (Gordon Lightfoot). There’s a wistfulness in her voice and whether playing guitar, piano, or a cappella, there’s an elegant simplicity that gets to the heart of each melody and the core of what the song meant to her.
Ultimately that’s the beauty of this collection for me. These songs come from many times and places, but Eva’s voice unites them seamlessly. Whether you’ve been listening to Eva Cassidy for years or this is the first you’ve heard of her, The Best of Eva Cassidy has something for everyone—pop, jazz, soul, and a voice silenced far too soon.Powered by Sidelines