Eva Cassidy’s music has made its way from iPod to iPod by enthusiastic word of mouth. Sadly, it can’t be spread any other way. Eva died in 1996 of a melanoma at the way-too-young age of 33.
What an incredible voice. I heard about Eva from a travel forum on which people posted their island playlists. I hadn’t heard of her, so I went to iTunes and listened to my allotted twenty seconds of some of her songs. That’s all it took – twenty seconds of Eva’s voice – to make me a fan for life.
Her version of “Over the Rainbow” is just unbelievable. A British d.j., Terry Wogan, happened to hear it several years after Eva’s death, and like almost everyone else, was blown away. So were his listeners. When a low-res video of Eva singing the song was played on Britain’s Top of the Pops 2 TV show, the song went to number one on the U.K. charts.
Three things make Eva’s music unique. First, of course, is her voice. Sweet, soulful, she did it all. Which leads to the second thing, the wide variety of musical genres she performed. Folk, blues, gospel, jazz. She mastered them all. One of the reasons she wasn’t signed to a major recording contract is that no one knew where she fit in the marketplace. But that was okay with Eva. She preferred to sing all kinds of songs, recording contract or no. And the third thing was her ability to make every song she performed her own. There are a number of songs she “owns” now, including “Rainbow,” “Fields of Gold,” and “Danny Boy.”
All right. I could go on, but listen for yourself. You’ll feel the mixture of elation that such a voice existed, and sadness that it was taken away so early.