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Simply Eva Theatre Show 31 March 2017

Simply Eva is a musical quest to the heart and the soul of Eva Cassidy (1963-1996). This American singer reached stardom after her early death from melanoma. Cassidy’s posthumously compiled album Songbird turned out to be a worldwide success in 2000. How could a multitalented singer like Eva remain so obscure during her life? What make her voice, her song selection and her interpretations so exceptional? Cassidy biographer Johan Bakker, singer Jerney Kate and guitarist Lex Horst pay homage to a unique musical performer with stories, songs and musical examples.

Jerney and Lex

Jerney and Lex

Dutch newspaper Gooi en Eemlander wrote about Jerney Kate: “When you close your eyes it is as if you hear Eva Cassidy sing.”

Torpedo theatre Amsterdam, Friday 31 March 2017

Sint Pieterspoortsteeg 33

1012 HM Amsterdam

Phone:  00 31 6 539 77 456

E-mail: carelhelder@wxs.nl

http://www.torpedotheater.nl/voorstellingen/agenda/2017/03/31/simpy-eva

Jerney and Eva

Jerney and Eva

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Art work

TEN THOUSAND EVA CASSIDY FANS CAN’T BE WRONG!

Eva Cassidy tribute Twitter account Behind The Rainbow ( @EvaCassidyBio ) welcomed its 10.000th follower this weekend. Berit Christensen from Denmark ( @BtheChangeX ) was very surprised to hear that she was number 10.000 when she started to follow @EvaCassidyBio . “Wow, that is awesome! I love Eva Cassidy, so this is really special to me,” she replied when she heard the news. As promised Berit Christensen will receive a copy of the Eva Cassidy biography Behind The Rainbow.

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Twitteraccount

We remember Eva Cassidy’s manager Al Dale

Eva Cassidy’s manager Al Dale passed away on Wednesday March 8th at the age of 80.

Al Dale was manager of several bands in the Washington DC area in the eighties and a regular at Chris Biondo’s studio. On one occasion he arrived to pick up some tapes just as Chris was recording with Eva. “Who the hell is that?” Al asked and he stayed a bit longer to listen to this incredible voice. After the recording Eva introduced herself to Al. “Are you the girl that was singing a few minutes ago?” Al asked and Eva nodded her head modestly. Al was shocked: he thought he had been listening to a black woman.

Al Dale

Al Dale

Several days later Al called Chris. “This girl is really great, she can have a great future in  showbusiness.” Chris agreed, but he made it clear that Eva didn’t believe in her own potential. Al offered his help.

Al and an angel

Al and an angel

He started by working on her extreme shyness. She could also be stubborn, making it doubly difficult for Al to prise her away from her old self. Marketing would present another problem altogether; Eva liked to do a bit of everything, taking influences from many different genres and making them her own. However, the fact that she would never become a typical pop star didn’t intimidate the manager – in fact, it was an advantage that Eva took herself seriously, since so many female artists in the pop industry used their femininity to degrading effect. Yet, she still despised the stage. “Let me make a few records and then you can sell them,” she suggested. Despite her obvious talents, Eva had no desire for fame and was often heard to say: “I don’t need to be famous. What I would like is to have a cottage at the oceanside, where I can make music and create art.” This was ultimately far more important to her than fame and fortune. Al Dale did his best to convince Eva to use her youth and looks to win an audience over, but she wasn’t interested in the glamour of showbusiness. He discovered just how difficult it was working with Eva when he arranged some publicity shots. When they received the results of the shoot – glamorous photos that could be used on a future album cover or as promotional posters. Eva was asked to choose her favourite. She looked at the photographs, hesitated for a few seconds and concluded: “Nice pictures, but I don’t think that’s me.” She didn’t want to use her body to sell music and at her wishes only her face from the images was used. In spite of Al’s attempts to dress Eva fashionably, she preferred her shorts, jeans, baggy T-shirts, clod-hopper shoes and hair tied back in a ponytail.

Glamorous Eva Cassidy

Glamorous Eva Cassidy

Al Dale introduced the Eva Cassidy band at Blues Alley, saying: “I want you to know that this is recorded live tonight. It’s gonna be heard all over the world. And if you want to tell people, ‘Hey, that’s me right there!’ you know, you’ve got to make noise in all the right places. So let’s start it out right now and give a Blues Alley welcome to Miss Eva Cassidy!” His voice can be heard on the Live At Blues Alley album.

Bayou ticket and poster

Bayou ticket and poster

When Al Dale heard about Eva Cassidy’s serious illness he took it on himself to organise a concert at The Bayou, then the most prestigious club in Washington, D.C. His intention was for the concert to become a tribute to one of the greatest talents Maryland had ever seen ‘A Tribute To Eva Cassidy.’ On September 17th, 1996 Eva Cassidy sang her last song: What A Wonderful World.

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Eva and Al

Alison Krauss: It was always Eva Cassidy!

Have their been any British female singers that have inspired you, influenced you or admired down the years?

Alison Krauss: ‘Sandy Denny. Actually John Waite gave me a CD of Liege and Leaf – he introduced me to Fairport Convention. She’s just so innocent and beautiful, there’s no way not to respond to her – it was an immediate love. And Eva Cassidy, she was always one of those people where you’d be in a store and you’d hear it on the speakers – who’s that?? It was always Eva Cassidy!’

Alison

Alison

American bluegrass-country singer and musician Alison Maria Krauss (1971) entered the music industry at an early age. She signed with Rounder Records in 1985 and released her first solo album in 1987. Krauss has released fourteen albums, appeared on numerous soundtracks, and helped renew interest in bluegrass music in the United States.

The Guardian March 6th 2017

 

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Alison Krauss

Eva Cassidy’s birthday

Eva Marie Cassidy was born on February 2, 1963 at 10.00 p.m. in the Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C. Her first name was taken from father Hugh’s grandmother, Eva McGrew, a Christian singer and guitar player. The family’s first year in the city was spent in the Southeast area in Washington, D.C., where they lived on the third floor of a small brick apartment on 1st Street. At that time the area had a predominantly white population and many who saw little Eva were enchanted by her blonde hair and her bright blue eyes. Neighbours gave her the nickname Miss Sunshine.

Birthday cake

Birthday cake

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Last birthday

We remember Isabel Cassidy Bligh (1933-2016)

Eva Cassidy’s aunt Isabel died on December 28, 2016. She was 83. Isabel was a sister of Hugh Cassidy, Eva’s father. Isabel was one of the first people who really believed in Eva Cassidy’s talent. She supported Eva from the beginning of her career. She was there for Eva’s performances when hardly anyone showed up. Eva called Isabel her Patron Saint of the Arts. Aunt Isabel gave her niece a donation that made it possible for The Eva Cassidy Band to record their album Live at Blues Alley. Isabel Cassidy was a talented woman herself; she had a fine taste in art and was musical. She started her own choir, and was a school teacher. Her husband Alan B. Bligh died in 1992. Isabel raised three children. Our heartfelt condolences go out to Isabel’s family and friends.

Isabel Cassidy Bligh

Isabel Cassidy Bligh

A memorial service for Isabel Cassidy Bligh will be held on Saturday, January 28th in Alexandria (VA).

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Rainbow

Eva Cassidy (2 February 1963 – 2 November 1996)

“She represents all that is good in this world.” This quotation – that Eva Cassidy added to the bottom of her portrait of Bernice, Chris Biondo’s dog – summarises her own life precisely. Eva loved animals because unlike people they never let her down. In her relationships with others she was always cautious, wary of unpleasantness or confrontation. The pain of her unhappy adolescence pursued her until her dying day.

Eva

Eva

But Eva Cassidy found a way of coping with the troubled waters that flowed around her life. From misery she created beautiful things. Art became a way not only of neutralising Eva’s melancholy but it brightened up her existence to the point that she was able to sing “I think to myself, what a wonderful world” and really mean it.

Eva’s singing brings both hope and comfort. Her music gives listeners the strength to resign themselves to mortality, at least temporarily. The first time Eva experienced this transition was while watching Judy Garland in her dusty Kansas farmyard singing ‘Over The Rainbow’. Years later Eva gave millions of others the same thing, the chance to experience this song imbued with even greater emotional depth.

Angel

Angel

Art was what made Eva’s life shine. She had no interest in material things. Twenty years after her death Eva would more than likely feel completely out of place in our mass media technological age: money, power, fame, image – all these were of no importance to Eva. It was almost as if she knew that her life on earth would be short and that it was pointless to surround herself with worldly treasures. She felt humble, like mere stardust.

Bruce Lundvall of Blue Note deeply regretted that he hadn’t signed her to his label, but it was Eva who spurned him, refusing to be pigeonholed. Fame was a terrifying prospect and success at the expense of artistic freedom was anathema to her psyche. Eva shut the door on the vast sums of money that Norah Jones, the star who saved Blue Note, would earn in her place. Eva reached for higher goals, with an innate sense that longing for something was somehow more important than attaining it.

Eva Cassidy

Eva Cassidy

With one notable exception, she wrote none of her own words but those songs she chose to sing so beautifully reflected her spiritual attitude to life, love, God, nature and the universe.

Is her friend Chris Biondo right in asserting that Eva was the best singer in the world? Yes and no. There have been more mature jazz singers than Eva, purer folk singers, more convincing gospel singers and tighter R&B singers, but no one singer mastered all these genres as well as Eva Cassidy. It’s about time that we will honour Eva as one of the most versatile, authentic and gifted singers the world has ever seen. Not because it is politically correct to say so, but because it is the truth.

 

 

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Eva in car

Sing Me Into Heaven (for Eva Cassidy)

Timo Arthur is proud to present to you his newly recorded song. The American singer-songwriter composed it in tribute to Eva Cassidy. Daniel Karl Cassidy, Eva’s brother, played the violin and string parts, recording them from Iceland where he currently lives. The rest of the song was recorded at Royal Studios in Memphis.

Timo Arthur

Timo Arthur

It’s quite different than what you might expect from Arthur; it’s not blues and there is no guitar. He is playing piano on this song, Daniel Karl Cassidy played violin and added strings to the song. For those of you who heard it, you know what an incredible and beautiful job he did! If you ever need violin or string parts for your music, contact him. He lives in Iceland but he can record parts for you from there, like he did with Timo’s song. He’s a total pro and super nice guy. For Timo it was an honor and pleasure to work with Dan.

Dan Cassidy

Dan Cassidy

 

Timo Arthur’s song ‘Sing Me Into Heaven (for Eva Cassidy)’ is now available for download at http://www.timoarthur.net

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Eva Cassidy

The beauty of Eva Cassidy’s voice lives on in a magnificent race horse

The most popular Eva Cassidy CD was named after its title song that was originally sung by Fleetwood Mac called ‘Songbird’. Eva Cassidy sang it slowly with so much passion and melodic beauty that Mick Fleetwood described her voice as ‘pure as snow.’

Eva Cassidy Songbird

Eva Cassidy Songbird

Songbird proves to be a haunting ballad with soaring vocals that evoke sunshine powering through the dawn. ‘There is an undeniable emotional appeal in hearing an artist who died in obscurity singing a song about hope and a mystical world beyond everyday life,’ said a review in the British newspaper The Guardian.

Songbird

Songbird

It was the name of that title song on Cassidy’s album that eventually became the inspiration for one of the most brilliant young fillies seen in America in many years. Songbird inspired Rick Porter (Fox Hill Farm) to name his young horse in honor of her.

Rick Porter

Rick Porter

Rick Porter, battling his own health issues this year, sent his horse Songbird to trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, and it didn’t take him long to realize he may have something special.‘Jerry was high on her relatively soon after she started to breeze,’ Porter says. ‘After her maiden victory I was expecting him to run her in a one other than allowance race, but he said he wanted to run in a grade I. I thought he was nuts until I questioned his decision and he said she was the best 2-year-old. After hearing someone like Jerry say that, I told him ‘OK.’ And he was right. Songbird has now become a superstar.’ Songbird took her unbeaten sequence to 11 with yet another resounding victory as she overwhelmed a field of top-class rivals by nearly six lengths in a totally dominant performance at the Parx Racecourse in Philadelphia on September 24th!

Paraphernalia

Paraphernalia

Eva Cassidy loved horses; in 1981 she had found a job as a ‘hot walker’ at a race course just outside her hometown Bowie (MD), and was required to handle enormous, temperamental thoroughbreds after training, cooling them down and returning them to their stalls. Eva was short but strong and, astonishingly, she proved very capable of dealing with these large animals. But it could be a dangerous job: Eva once showed her friends a set of large teeth marks on her shoulder from one temperamental filly; luckily she had been wearing a heavy leather jacket. Eva certainly would have loved the idea that a race horse was named after the song that made her famous.

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Eva Cassidy

January 3rd 1996: The Eva Cassidy Band Live At Blues Alley

The late singer/guitarist Eva Cassidy (1963-1996) was a possibility nature did not allow fulfilled. Barely started in what promised to be a successful career, Cassidy died at 33 from malignant melanoma, the same year her notable Live at Blues Alley (Eva Music) was recorded and released. The present Nightbird is the expansion and 20th Anniversary celebration of a life ended too soon and a recording promising so much. Recorded January 3, 1996, Cassidy would be gone by November…a streak of light across the night sky.

Eva At Blues Alley

Eva At Blues Alley

A child of the late Baby Boom, Cassidy had the advantage of musically literate parents who exposed her to a broad array of music. Rather than occupy herself with listening to the standard white-bread music on AM radio, she concentrated on Southern soul, jazz, blues, and R&B. She assimilated these genre seamlessly emerging, fully formed, on the stage of Georgetown’s Blues Alley. Cassidy’s performance was dizzying in scope. Heading up a durable quartet, Cassidy made her way across the whole of 20th Century American Music.

Keith Grimes

Keith Grimes

Irving Berlin’s ‘Blue Skies’ is a fitting place to begin a show, an early Tin Pan Alley song updated by a sensitive and perceptive Cassidy. The same can be said for her other hard ballad performances: the early ‘Autumn Leaves,’ ‘Wonderful World’ and Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘Bridge Over Troubled Waters’ and Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Time After Time.’ Cassidy completely renewed Harburg and Arlen’s ‘Over the Rainbow,’ making an already iconic song a quiet lightning bolt. Her performance of Sting’s ‘Field of Gold’ is equally provocative.

Eva Cassidy Band

Eva Cassidy Band

Nightbird reveals a modern song stylist not unlike Frank Sinatra. Cassidy’s interpretative skills had few, if any, peers. She was equally at home with the Box Tops (‘The Letter’) and Bobby Troup (‘Route 66′); Peggy Lee (‘Fever’) and Aretha Franklin (‘Chain of Fools’). Nightbird is a singular event to be savored and a talent too great to have experienced for such a short time.

C. Michael Bailey (All About Jazz)

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Eva At Blues Alley

“There will never be a new Eva”

All of those who belonged to the close circle around Eva reacted to her death on November 2nd, 1996, in their own way and did everything they could to keep her flame burning. Hugh Cassidy tried to cope with the loss of his daughter by making a statue of her. He had been making sculptures from an early age, but it wasn’t until Eva died that Hugh really became absorbed in creating art from scrap metal. He must have been inspired because the face of the angel he designed has Eva’s features. Like Eva, Hugh makes realistic human faces with a surreal twist, yet there’s always hope in the work. The Cassidys’ art isn’t necessarily cheery, but it is usually positive.

Angel

Angel

In 1997 Chuck Brown recorded an album of jazz standards called Timeless, which he released in 1998 and dedicated to Eva. It was produced by Lenny Williams and Chris Biondo who both played in the jazz combo as well. Chuck didn’t want to perform with another female singer again. He said about his former companion: “There will never be a new Eva.”

Chuck Brown

Chuck Brown

Eva’s friend Anna Karen sent the recording of ‘Fields Of Gold’ to its writer, Sting. The former Police singer had rarely heard a voice of such purity. He was sorry to learn of Eva’s death and believed that this somehow took the song to a deeper emotional level. He was moved by Eva’s version of his song: “Her voice has a magical quality. It suggests something ethereal – something unattainable,” he said in an interview with Richard Harrington of the Washington Post on March 23, 2001.

Sting

Sting

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Eva

Eva Cassidy’s success in Iceland

Eva’s brother Dan Cassidy discovered in the 1994 that Europeans appreciated his way of playing. He felt very much at ease on the continent and close to his roots. When he arrived in Iceland he felt completely at home and decided to make it his home. He still resides there today.

Eva and Dan Blues Bar

Eva and Dan Blues Bar

Iceland is a military, geographic and cultural bridge between Europe and America. Dan loved the clean air, the bright water, the down to earth nature of the people and their love for art, literature and music. He soon became an in-demand fiddler because of his ability to turn his hand to jazz, blues and folk. He invited his sister to visit him in 1994.

Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon

Eva arrived with her mother and also fellow Stonehenge band member Larry Melton, with whom she kept up a close friendship. Dan had played Eva’s tapes to the owner of the Blues Bar in Reykjavik, Jonas Helgason, and he agreed to her performing five nights a week over her three-week stay.

Eva and Dan

Eva and Dan

When Eva played for an Icelandic audience they listened in absolute silence. Dan was able to see that she was still improving and that there had been a significant change in her musical choices, from jazz and blues towards real folk ballads. She even performed the classic rhythm and blues song ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ as a folk ballad.

Eva was a great success in Iceland and, like her brother Dan, she felt completely at ease in the country. The audiences were respectful of her music and they showed their appreciation, sitting in a quiet circle around the stage. She even began to socialise with her audiences after shows. Icelandic people love to drink and Eva had her fair share. It was as if she had been freed from her inner chains.

Eva in Iceland

Eva in Iceland

Eva went down so well in her first-week performances that the following week she found herself on the front page of the culture supplement of Icelandic newspaper Pressan and she was invited to play live on the radio. She performed one of her favourite ballads, Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’.

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Eva en Dan Blues Bar

A Tribute To Eva Cassidy in Leiden

A Tribute to Eva Cassidy in Leiden

Jerney Kate and her band band will pay a tribute to Eva Cassidy on Sunday afternoon April 10th.
Between the sets author and biographer Johan Bakker will talk about Eva Cassidy’s short and moving life that ended too soon.

Eva Cassidy died 20 years ago. Four years later her renditions of Songbird, Autumn Leaves, Time After Time, Over The Rainbow and Fields Of Gold made her a star posthumously..

Tribute to Eva Cassidy by Jerney Kate and band
Sunday 10 April 2016 | Scheltema, Marktsteeg 1, Leiden
Start 3:00 uur PM Tickets: € 10

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1v51rM6k4tjHVuHETbfCYwJm1aaqgL-HkVKYWe-CDvT4/viewform

 

 

 

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Jerney Kate

Terry Wogan made Eva Cassidy a star

The huge response to Eva’s music was down to Terry Wogan’s (1938 – 2016) support for her. However, the first song by Eva that Wogan played was not ‘Over The Rainbow’, as most would assume, but ‘Autumn Leaves’ during the last week of August 1998. The following week he played ‘Over The Rainbow’ followed by ‘Fields Of Gold’ two days later.

Terry Wogan

Terry Wogan

Paul Walters, a BBC radio and TV producer, is noted for his work on Wogan’s BBC Radio 2 breakfast show Wake Up To Wogan. Terry Wogan nicknamed him Paulie Walters, and he is known to millions as Dr Wally Poultry. Paul was one of Bramwell’s first ports of call: “Dear Paul, I know you are a busy man, but you should really pay attention to this particular record. Cheers, Tony.”

Paul Walters

Paul Walters

Personal relationships are valuable, especially in the highly commercialised world of the record industry and radio. Paul Walters received dozens of albums a day from hopefuls desperate to make their debut on the airwaves. If Paul had only the Songbird album cover to go on – a rather unattractive brown design with an out-of-focus Polaroid photo of an unknown girl-next-door – he might never have listened to it. But Paul knew Tony Bramwell, and if he had given up retirement to promote this new artist then she was certainly worth a listen.

Paul emailed Tony, promising to listen to ‘Over The Rainbow’, the track he’d particularly pushed. Tony’s response was quick and to the point: “No, I’d like you to listen to it this very moment.” Paul could not put off such a request. He listened to the song and it was immediately obvious that Tony hadn’t been exaggerating. “This is bloody brilliant,” he replied. “We are going with it tomorrow!”

songbird(1998)

songbird(1998)

Terry Wogan also had complete trust in Tony and he played ‘Over The Rainbow’ on his show the next day. “This is one Paul brought this morning by a lady called Eva Cassidy. Hope you like it!” At that moment, of course, neither had any inkling that Eva had passed away two years earlier. Wogan was enchanted by Eva’s voice and quickly scanned the liner notes while the song was playing. As it faded out, he said: “That was Eva Cassidy, who it seems is tragically no longer with us.”

Listeners responded in droves, more than 100 sending e-mails within 10 minutes of the song being played. The BBC’s phone lines were jammed and letters and faxes poured in over the next few days. ‘Over The Rainbow’ might have been an old song but Eva’s version had given it a timelessness that had clearly hit a chord with the public.

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Terry Wogan (1938 - 2016

Eva Cassidy Comes Alive in Zoetermeer

Twenty years ago this month Eva Cassidy recorded Live At Blues Alley in Georgetown DC. The album was meant to be her great breakthrough, but in that same year, 1996, the modest, but talented singer died. Not until four years later her voice and her songs reached many people’s hearts all over the world. No one singer mastered so many genres as well as she did. In the United Kingdom Eva Cassidy has a cult status; her popularity in the Netherlands is still growing. Eva Cassidy’s renditions of ‘Fields Of Gold’ and ‘Songbird’ end up high in the top 2000 every year.

Blues Alley

Blues Alley

A year ago the first Eva Cassidy fan club was founded. This happened at a beautiful well-attended meeting where people enjoyed music and memories of Eva Cassidy. Humberto Tan became the fan club’s honorary member that night; Eva’s life story still inspires the famous Dutch talk show host.

Humberto Tan

Humberto Tan

February 4th (in the week when Eva Cassidy would have celebrated her 53rd birthday) her music will resound impressively during a show with Jerney Kate and her band in City Theatre Zoetermeer. Their repertoire is as varied as Eva Cassidy’s was: from refined folk songs like ‘Autumn Leaves’ to the solid rhythm-and-blues of ‘Take Me To The River’. A year ago this Eva Cassidy Tribute Band put up a stunning performance: “It’s as if Eva Cassidy has come alive,” Gooi- en Eemlander newspaper commented; expactations are high again!

Jerney Kate

Jerney Kate

Fan Club chairman Anton van Dijken and Eva Cassidy biographer Johan Bakker will talk about their fascination for the American singer and it is possible to meet many other fans of Eva Cassidy’s music.

February 4, 2016

Doors open: 7.30 PM, start show: 8.30 PM.

Stadstheater Zoetermeer

Theaterplein 10

2711 EK Zoetermeer

€ 12,50,-

Kindly request to register at: OfficialEvaCassidyFanclub@gmail.com

More information +31(0)6-45700121

FB: Facebook.com/OfficialEvaCassidyFanclub

Twitter: @EvaFanClub

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Jerney Kate

Impressive concert recording Eva Cassidy Band

Nightbird‘s release was long overdue. The album contains the complete concert (audio and partly video) that The Eva Cassidy Band gave on 3 January 1996. The group had booked jazz club Blues Alley in Georgetown DC for two consecutive nights to record an album that would put Eva Cassidy definitely on the map. Whoever had heard her singing was hugely impressed, but Cassidy didn’t have a record contract in those days. Her repertoire was much too varied to label her musically. Cassidy’s fellow musicians still believed in her talent, though, and decided to a last desperate effort: to release a live-album on their own. The singer paid the live recording truck and the crew.

Nightbird

Nightbird

Luck wasn’t on their side: immediately after the first night’s performances the group listened eagerly to the tapes. They soon realised that the sound was badly affected by the light dimmers of the jazz club. So the entire recording had been in vain. This was a huge disappointment, not only because they had played very well that evening, but because the pressure for the second night was ratcheted up several notches. Eva didn’t sleep well that night and worse: she developed a cold. When Eva and the other musicians listened to the recordings of the second night to decide the running order of the album said the perfectionistic singer: ‘I don’t like this and I don’t want to release this album.’ They talked for hours and promised her to add some studio recordings to the live concert performances, which would lead to the acceptable and coherent album: Live at Blues Alley. Cassidy reluctantly agreed. That same year Eva Cassidy died of melanoma, largely unknown.

Blues Alley

Blues Alley

In fact Blix Street Records ignores Cassidy’s wishes by releasing of Nightbird. The technique of optimizing recordings has been improved significantly in twenty years. But anyone who listens to these thirty-one tracks on this double-album must conclude that music history was written on 3 January 1996. No weak spots can be discovered on this album! People all over the world have to adjust the idea that they probably had about Eva Cassidy. This music differs hugely from well-known songs that babble on like Fields of Gold and Songbird. The Eva Cassidy Band plays two delicious sets of solid and sparkling songs: a rocking rendition of Take Me To The River, a soulful Chain Of Fools and a steamy Route 66. Even as a jazz band The Eva Cassidy Band does an excellent job performing fine versions of Blue Skies and Caravan. But those who love quiet ballads have plenty to enjoy on Nightbird as well: it is a real surprise for instance to hear a stripped off rendition of Waly Waly. On Eva By Heart the song was decorated with outdated synthesiser-effects, but on Nightbird Lenny Williams accompanies Waly Waly in a beautifully restrained way.

Eva At Blues Alley

Eva At Blues Alley

Since the compilation-album Songbird appeared in 2001 people have been aware of the fact that Eva Cassidy was an extremely talented singer. Nightbird proves that her fellow musicians were also able to perform a complete night at a high level in different genres. It is remarkable that the record company doesn’t say much in their liner notes about Chris Biondo (bassist, producer and friend), Keith Grimes (guitar), Lenny Williams (piano) and Raice McLeod. Behind the scenes the bickering about rights and finances continuous. But don’t let these overshadow the joy about the release of this impressive concert recordings! Anyone who’s into the music of The Eva Cassidy band should listen to and watch Nightbird.

Johan Bakker

Pictures: Larry Melton

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Eva At Blues Alley

New Eva Cassidy release: Nightbird

Eva Cassidy’s performance at the Blues Alley jazz club has become musical history. Twenty years on, every song recorded on the night of the 3rd January 1996 can be experienced for the first time.

Nightbird

Nightbird

Nightbird is The Eva Cassidy Band’s ultimate tour-de-force (Eva Cassidy guitar and vocals, Keith Grimes guitar, Chris Biondo bass, Raice McLeod drums and Lenny Williams piano). 31 songs recorded in one night at the Blues Alley jazz club in Georgetown, DC. Encompassing the full spectrum of Eva’s gospel, blues, jazz and folk roots, Nightbird showcases the breadth and depth of one of the world’s finest singers. Nightbird will be released as a 4LP gatefold heavyweight vinyl package that also includes the 2CD and DVD discs.

Blues Alley

Blues Alley

The recordings have been remixed and remastered from the original tapes resulting in the most sonically engaging Eva Cassidy release to date. Of the 31 songs, 12 are previously unreleased including the title track Nightbird as well as the jazz standards It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing) and Fever. Of the 12 unreleased tracks, 8 are previously unheard songs. These include Son Of A Preacher Man, Route 66, Late in The Evening, Baby I Love You and Caravan. The DVD features 12 performances from the night including Over The Rainbow, Time After Time, People Get Ready, Nightbird and Bridge Over Troubled Water. The concert footage has undergone painstaking restoration resulting in a mesmerising viewer experience. Release date: 20th November. Pictures: Larry Melton

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Eva At Blues Alley

Eva Cassidy (2 February 1963 – 2 November 1996)

Eva Cassidy died just after midnight on November 2, 1996. Nineteen years ago today.

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Eva Cassidy Somewhere

Interview Hattie Briggs

Hattie Briggs is about to travel to the continent for her first European tour that will start in Zoetermeer. The British singer has been in The Netherlands once before: ‘I was on a hockey tour then and I’m really looking forward to visiting your country again!’

She was introduced to Dan Cassidy via Facebook by a friend of a friend: ‘Then I met him properly at a gig that he was playing. I performed Fields of Gold with him that night as a duet. This will be the second time I play with Dan, but he did perform violin on my album Red & Gold that he co-produced.’

Hattie Briggs live

Hattie Briggs live

Apart from music she has some other passions: ‘I love sport and keeping fit. I also love reading and going to the cinema.’ As a musician Briggs aims to keep progressing and making music that is meaningful: ‘In time I’d like to play at larger venues and tour all over the world.’

She grew up listening to Eva Cassidy’s music: ‘Eva Cassidy has always been an inspiration to me. I love her voice and the way that she interprets songs, transforming them into something fresh so that they sound like something she has written herself.’

Hattie Briggs has her own band: ‘I play with various combinations of musicians from a duo to a five piece, and I had lots of musicians play on my album.’ She broke off her study because music became too much of a passion. ‘Obsession might be a better word. During my second year of study, music became  a constant distraction from my Russian degree. I no longer found my course interesting and just wanted to create songs all day instead of writing scientific essays.’

Folk makes up only a small part of her music: ‘My styles of writing and playing cross over into many different genres including pop, soul and jazz as well as folk. I think that the best label for me is singer-songwriter.’ The song writing process is different every time but Hattie Briggs is involved in making up video scenarios as well: ‘I really enjoy making music videos. I tend to come up with a plan and then get extra ideas from the film maker. My songs are short stories and my videos are their illustrations.’

Open ichtus: Friday October 23, 8 PM, Parkdreef Zoetermeer.

Order tickets: openichthusinconcert@gmail.com

 

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Hattie Briggs

Hattie Briggs and Dan Cassidy to the Netherlands

In the final week of October Hattie Briggs (guitar, piano, vocals) and Dan Cassidy will visit The Netherlands. Despite her young age, the British singer Hattie Briggs is deeply rooted in the old folk tradition. Recently she released Red & Gold, a title that refers to the Autumn Leaves of this season. This album reached number 1 on the Digital Folk Chart. Briggs received favourable reviews: ‘If you appreciate well written music, sung beautifully and played exquisitely then this will definitely be something for you,’ and ‘her incredible melancholic voice and range sits on the cello like an extra string,’ British music critics wrote.

Hattie Briggs

Hattie Briggs

Hattie Briggs was inspired by the music of Eva Cassidy. The influence of the talented American singer who attained world fame years after her premature death in 1996 is clear. Dan Cassidy contributed on several recordings of his sister Eva. On Red & Gold Dan plays the violin on several songs and he produced the album together with Peter Waterman (Joss Stone).

Dan Cassidy

Dan Cassidy

The last words that Eva Cassidy spoke to her brother were: ‘You are a good musician and you can play with anyone.’ What a privilege that Dan Cassidy does so with Hattie Briggs in Zoetermeer at Open Ichtus on October 23rd.

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Hattie

Dutch tour Hattie Briggs

This autumn Hattie Briggs will visit The Netherlands to do some concerts. Despite her young age, the British singer is deeply rooted in the old folk tradition. Recently she released Red & Gold a title that refers to the Autumn Leaves of this season. This album reached number 1 on the Digital Folk Chart. Briggs received favourable reviews: ‘If you appreciate well written music, sung beautifully and played exquisitely then this will definitely be something for you,’ and ‘her incredible melancholic voice and range sits on the cello like an extra string,’ British music critics wrote.

Hattie Briggs

Hattie Briggs

Her latest single ‘Tilly’s Song’, written for her best friend, showcases the playful side of her song writing. The summery, up-tempo arrangement is powered by catchy banjo and lead guitar parts, but it is the layer of sweet vocal harmonies that make this song so joyful and uplifting.

Red And Gold

Red And Gold

With a relentless creative fire inside and inspired by the likes of James Taylor and Eva Cassidy, Hattie recorded her album at Monnow Valley Studios, produced by Peter Waterman (Joss Stone) and Eva’s brother Dan Cassidy. Briggs performs ‘Fields of Gold’ using Eva Cassidy’s arrangement. Dan Cassidy played the violin on the song.

Hattie

Hattie

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Hattie Briggs

Mick Fleetwood about Eva Cassidy

In the 90’s Mick Fleetwood had a club in Alexandria called Fleetwood’s. Alexandria is near Washington DC which was the area where Eva Cassidy lived: ‘When I went there I wanted to know what the sensibilities were with the local talents. So I set about meeting and hearing local musicians and she was one of them. I am always driven by passion and that’s about it. I don’t have a judgement call on technique or anything. It’s all about: Am I moved? Is this sweet? Does this got drama to it? When Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham joined Fleetwood Mac  it was like: that’s it, let’s go! And that’s how I first met with that feeling about Eva; her voice was her ultimate tool of magic, but she was like a perfect band member, really. Emotionally she reminded me of playing with Peter Green.

Mick Fleetwood on drums

Mick Fleetwood on drums

I remember talking with her and I was aware of this person was just as pure as snow. Crystals. Just totally. But sort of stubborn: she was trying to get a record deal. Trying to be noticed. She was looking for someone who understood her. Except that there was no one out there who understood her. I said: ‘Why don’t you go and play the game?’ So off she went to get together with record company Blue Note in New York. They loved her music apparently. And they saw her potential. But it was THEIR potential it wasn’t HER vision. So she came back from one of these trips. And I remember saying: ‘How did it go?’ And she answered: ‘Well, nothing happened. I basically all but walked out and said: ‘I’m not going to do that, I’m not interested.’’ They wanted to take the essence of Eva and make it more accessible, but to her it was: ‘What about ME? What about IT? The essence of ME?’

Mick Fleetwood and Eva's Songbird album

Mick Fleetwood and Eva’s Songbird album

I never brought it up again. Because I realised it was off limits. The very thing that they wanted to change became the uniqueness of her forever success and regard from all corners of the earth. Her persona; that was all about her music. She was a gorgeous girl that had no interest in fluffing up. She just wanted to sing. You don’t have to be brilliant. But she WAS brilliant and she had that childlike, lovely thing that was just … the magic! I call that: IT. So I look at her as an interpreter of songs and she had so much power and conviction about herself, that she could do that. I mean some of the songs that she sang were so public domain; Why do you want to do that song? It has been done by everyone! ‘Well, because it’s a great song. And I can sing it.’ She was fearless. She wouldn’t play the game. She didn’t choose a song to satisfy someone else; if it didn’t feel right, she wouldn’t do it. In terms of Eva and how she is perceived, received and loved through her music: I am certainly not surprised, but I know when these moments were really really real. That was when I realised: something is happening now!’

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Mick Fleetwood

Eva Cassidy conquers New York City!

On August 7th 2015, The Metropolitan Room in New York City presents vocalist Rebekah Lowin in ‘I Know You By Heart; the Songs of Eva Cassidy’ a powerful and intimate new show that highlights the life and legacy of the late singer, as well as her original arrangements. The 23-year-old Rebekah Lowin projects an aura of bittersweet, farsighted resignation.

Rebekah Lowin

Rebekah Lowin

‘For any singer, it is a challenge to put a strong enough personal imprint on songs as familiar as ‘Over The Rainbow,’ ‘What a Wonderful World,’ and ‘Blues in the Night’ that you are drawn to consider the personality behind the voice. In this show, directed by Lauren Fox, Ms. Lowin who last year earned a bachelor of arts degree in creative writing from Columbia, infuses a wistful authority into the lyrics and makes you hear the songs from her perspective. At times, it feels as though she has already absorbed life lessons that most of us don’t begin to consider until much later. In other words, she’s a natural,’ wrote the New York Times.

Singer Rebekah Lowin

Singer Rebekah Lowin

Connecting the songs is a running biography of Cassidy’s life that paints her as a fiercely independent artist who stubbornly resisted being marketed as one thing or another. Ms. Lowin’s clean-cut, unglamorous self-presentation and the stripped-down arrangements of her musicians — Peter Calo on guitar and Mairi Dorman-Phaneuf on cello — contributes to her portrait of Cassidy as a single-minded loner. The closest thing to a running theme is the impermanence of romantic love, contemplated in ‘Autumn Leaves,’ and in the traditional folk song ‘The Water is Wide,’ where love ‘fades away like the summer dew.’

The Metropolitan Room is located at 34 West 22nd Street (between 5th and 6th Avenues) in New York City. Nearest subways include the 1, 2, N, Q, R, F, M, PATH. The box office is reachable by phone at 212.206.0440.

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Poster Rebekah Lowin

Celia and Eva part 2

Eva’s relationship with Celia Murphy continued to improve: she was someone who really understood Eva, to the point where they sometimes shared an innate telepathy. On one occasion Celia was working in Crystal City when she received a phone message: “Celia, I’m in Alexandria and I am at the store that I know you really like. If you want to see me, come to Alexandria. I have my bike.” Why hadn’t Eva told her what store? Alexandria was huge – how would she find her? But she decided to set off anyway, driving to the Zipia fashion store. When she arrived, there was Eva, standing outside the store with her bike. When she saw Celia her mouth fell open: “How did you find me?”

Celia and Johan

Celia and Johan

It was not particularly “cool” for young people to talk about religious matters, but Eva and Celia’s spirituality brought them closer together. Eva asked Celia to write down the lyrics to ‘Morning Has Broken’, Cat Stevens’ arrangement of the 1931 hymn by Eleanor Farjeon. “You’d better have the words right,” Eva said, “because God is listening too.” The girls took their religion seriously, but they didn’t let it spoil their sense of humour. Driving along one sunny afternoon and belting out a beautiful hymn, a noisy lorry overtook them, ruining the song. They didn’t miss a beat: “Asshole!”

Eva sometimes compared her childhood friend Celia Murphy with Jesus because she had often helped her without ever asking for anything in return. The two were on the same spiritual level. Eva loved talking about angels and she hadn’t shied away from the fact that in order to become an angel herself she must leave the earth first. Like everyone else, Celia found it very difficult to watch Eva during her last struggle and she felt the need to comfort her vulnerable friend with words from the Bible. Celia chose a reading from the book of Psalms, Psalm 23: The Lord is my shepherd: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Celia at The Bayou

Celia at The Bayou

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Celia Murphy en Johan Bakker

Eva’s friend Celia Murphy in Volendam

For the first time in my life I visited Volendam, a Dutch fishermen’s village where I met Celia Murphy who made a journey through Europe. We enjoyed the local eel and, of course, we talked about Eva Cassidy. Celia was one of Eva’s best friends. In 1973, the Murphys, an Anglo-Indian family, emigrated from India to Maryland where their children, Ruth and Celia, were enrolled at Robert Goddard Junior High School where they attended music classes supervised by Rosemary Rockwell. Eva and her sister Marget attended Rosemary’s choir lessons and met up with Ruth and Celia. The Murphy sisters loved to sing and they recognised a kindred spirit in Eva.

Celia Murphy and Johan Bakker

Celia Murphy and Johan Bakker

Eva was welcomed into the class because she could play guitar. She had a great voice but she didn’t like to sing solo parts because she was too shy. Scott from Winston-Salem, in North Carolina, had the pleasure of knowing Eva in high school and singing with her in the small choral group. Later he would post an appraisal of Eva on an internet forum:

“Often one doesn’t recognize great talent amongst seven other singers but everyone recognized Eva’s capacity for humility and compassion. As a very quiet person she tried to blend in. She did not seek centre stage and shied away from requests to do solos. Even though she was an excellent choral member, every so often the power and beauty of her voice would overshadow everyone else in the room.One particular moment stands out in my mind when our director was frustrated in trying to get a certain passion and depth of sound from us and, being typical teenagers, we were unwilling to put forth the effort. During the next pass through, however, one voice rose above all others, strong, passionate, and with a pristine clarity I’d never heard before in that room. To everyone’s surprise, perhaps even to herself, it was Eva. She immediately turned red, looked to the floor, and timidly offered ‘I guess I took in a large breath and it wanted out’. Our performance of that song gained new fever and became one of our best. She had shown us just how good it could be. I guess few of us really understood the depth of her talent and her ability to communicate through her singular voice. Even as a teenage person, she was as beautiful and sensitive as her voice. Personally I am blessed to have known her, together we are all fortunate to have these remembrances of her talent and sensitivity.”

The choir sang all kinds of music, including hymns, spirituals and folk songs such as ‘The Water Is Wide’. Eva wasn’t too keen on Mrs Rockwell’s no-nonsense approach to music because she couldn’t stand strict people, but Margret was different: she liked the straightforward choir leader.Eva and Celia also joined a folk group that rehearsed after school, led by Ms Bush, a talkative lady and a devout Christian who played guitar and knew many folk songs. It was here that Eva learned what was to become a favourite song, ‘Wade In The Water’. One day she brought Mrs Rockwell’s songbook home. It covered all kinds of pop songs, including ‘Eleanor Rigby’.

Celia

Celia

Celia discovered Eva’s clingy nature the hard way. On one occasion Eva asked her to go shopping, but later that day Celia received a phone call from another friend with the same invitation. Without thinking she asked the second friend to join them. When Eva discovered this she reacted angrily and didn’t utter a word to Celia for days.

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Celia Murphy

Eva would become famous, but she would not live to see it.

After years of performing Grace Griffith finally signed a contract with a small record company called Blix Street Records just before Eva’s death. The Los Angeles-based indie label had tasted success with Irish singer Mary Black, who’d had a modest hit with ‘No Frontiers’, not to be confused with No Boundaries, the album that Eva recorded with David Christopher and Tony Taylor. Grace hesitated to tell Blix Street managing director Bill Straw about her talented friend. She admitted in an interview that she was afraid that Eva would overshadow her, but she eventually decided not to hold back any longer. Grace copied a tape of Live At Blues Alley, making ‘Fields Of Gold’ the opening track, and sent it to Los Angeles. Bill Straw was immediately entranced, convinced that people would love it. At the same time he realised the tragic nature of this discovery: that Eva would become famous, but she would not live to see it.

songbird(1998)

songbird(1998)

After Eva’s death on November 2nd, 1996, Reverend Linda Olson Peebles visited Hugh and Barbara to discuss preparations for a remembrance ceremony for Eva, which was held several days after her ashes were scattered into the river. Linda had never met Eva personally, but she knew her music. Linda is an acquaintance of Grace Griffith and they are both Unitarian Universalists.

Linda was not only a preacher but also a singer-songwriter. In the eighties and nineties Grace Griffith had organised open mic evenings in her coffeehouse and Linda had played and sang there regularly. The family thought it important that a liberal female preacher who loved music speak at Eva’s ceremony. Linda examined Eva’s work, listened to stories and memories of Eva from Hugh and Barbara and followed their wishes for the service. Music was a core element to the Cassidys, so Chris Biondo was asked to bring his expertise and equipment to the ceremony. The ceremony was held under an enormous canopy in a Maryland State Park not far from the city of Greenbelt. It was a sunny afternoon, relatively mild for the time of the year. About 600 guests arrived.

sailing

sailing

Grace Griffith sang a song that meant a lot to Eva: Pete Seeger’s ‘Oh, Had I A Golden Thread’. Eva had recorded the song in the studio and it had been included on the Live At Blues Alley album. On the liner notes Eva described the song as her favourite. The melody was quite simple, a freer version of ‘Nearer My God To Thee’, but Eva was able to improvise the chords. The lyrics connected with Eva and the visual artist in her was attracted to the weaving of a rainbow design. To Eva, the rainbow was a symbol of a happiness that awaited her somewhere in the distance. Grace Griffith’s version had a Celtic touch.

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Grace Griffith

New album Grace Griffith

After battling Parkinson’s for more than fifteen years, folksinger Grace Griffith was determined to record one more album.

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Passing Through

EVA CASSIDY WEEKEND @ NIJEND 24, ANDEREN.

On Saturday March 21st (8 PM) biographer Johan Bakker will talk about the short life of the American singer (1963-1996).

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Nijend 24

First Eva Cassidy Fan Club Meeting

Monday night, February 2nd, Theater De Vorstin in Hilversum remembered Eva Cassidy’s 52nd birthday.

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Eva Cassidy Fan Club Evening

2-2-2015: Eva Cassidy Fan evening in Hilversum

Eva Cassidy Fan Evening

Eva Cassidy Fan Evening

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Humberto Tan honorary member Eva Cassidy Fan Club

Dutch talkshow host Humberto Tan is pleased with his honorary membership of the Eva Cassidy fan club.

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Humberto Tan

Start evening Eva Cassidy Fan Club! 2-2-2015

On Eva Cassidy’s 52th birthday, her music will come alive during an impressive show of Jerney Kate and her band during this start evening of the fan club.

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Eva Cassidy

Bruce Lundvall didn’t sign Eva Cassidy

“Eva had her own spirit, her own vision. But I didn’t sign her.”

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President Bruce Lundvall

Chuck Brown Memorial Park

A section of Langdon Park in Washington DC is now dedicated to Chuck Brown (1936 – 2012).

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Chuck and Eva

Dan Cassidy’s 50th birthday

Dan Cassidy celebrated his 50th birthday with a special concert at the Lion Hotel in Shrewsbury on July 11th.

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Dan Cassidy

“Over The Rainbow musical brings people closer to Eva”

Nicole Faraday will play the role of Eva Cassidy again in the successful musical Over the Rainbow from September 7th.

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Nicole als Eva

Eva’s artwork

The most striking difference between Eva’s music and her painting is that she had yet to find her own voice in her artwork.

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Angel

Mick Fleetwood and Eva Cassidy joined the stage

Mick Fleetwood joined Eva onstage and told her that he would be happy to play the drums on her first Blue Note album.

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Mick Fleetwood

“Eva Cassidy changed my life.”

Amba Tremain did backing-vocals on the Somewhere album. Read how Eva Cassidy changed her life.

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Amba Tremain Gouden Somewhere

A tribute to beautiful songs (Margriet Sjoerdsma and Dan Cassidy)

Dutch singer Margriet Sjoerdsma will start her Eva Cassidy tour with Arie Storm, Cord Heineking and Eva’s brother Dan Cassidy on February 1st.

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Dan Cassidy en Margriet Sjoerdsma

Johan Bakker about Eva Cassidy: “When I hear her voice, she still touches me.”

The American singer Eva Cassidy (1963-1996) died almost twenty years ago. Yet she seems more popular than ever before. This year Coosje Smid scored a hit with her performance of “Fields of Gold” and singer Margriet Sjoerdsma prepares an extensive tribute theatre tour together with Eva’s brother. Johan Bakker wrote a book about the late musician. In the UK it won a prize.

By Maurice Dielemans

 “One day the CD Songbird lay on the doormat. It took a while before it ended up in the player, because the cover looked a bit amateurish. Once I listened to the album, I knew immediately that this was something special. “

Johan Bakker lives and works in Rotterdam. He is a freelance journalist and he writes about music, art and literature. Most of his pieces appear in Dutch newspaper Nederlands Dagblad.  Baker grew up in the punk era. “My parents listened to classical music. I also had piano lessons. At the end of primary school, in the seventies, my fascination for pop music began. I grew up in Groningen and there was a thriving music scene with local bands like The Streetbeats, White Honey and Herman Brood. Pubs could stay open longer if they had live music, so that was a fertile area for pop music. I also listened to Neil Young and Bob Dylan. As I get older, I listen more and more to minimalist music. Recently I heard a very nice CD of improvisations on the music of Bach by Hannes Minnaar. Currently I listen to a new CD with old recordings of Keith Jarrett.”

 

Johan Bakker (Photo Ron Beenen)

Johan Bakker (Photo Ron Beenen)

Baker’s biography – Behind the Rainbow, the Tragic Life of Eva, – is his first book. A second book is in the making. That is a different story, he explains, it is about a one-way trip to Mars. It goes without saying that he would take enough CDs Eva Cassidy should that trip ever come. “At one point I started to specialize in jazz. As a jazz journalist, you come across all sorts of vocal music and so I discovered Eva Cassidy. There are undoubtedly better folk or jazz singers, like for instance Ella Fitzgerald. But the magic of Eva was that she mastered so many different styles and genres. Every time I hear her voice, she touches me again. “

What was the main reason for you to write a book about Eva Cassidy?

 “I had many questions and was very curious. She sang a lot of gospel, for instance, while she was raised by non-Christian parents. Nobody had an immediate answer, but there seemed to be a long history behind it about a pastor had converted her. Eva was also very stubborn. Nowadays you have a lot of those singers who do everything to get a record deal and become popular. Eva Cassidy was exactly the opposite. When the President of Blue Note called to tell her that he was interested, she travelled to New York to sing a song for him. But at the end of the day the stubborn singer left the room saying that she did not want to stick to just jazz. She left the band obviously flabbergasted; it had been their ultimate dream to become professional musicians.”

Eva died young from the effects of skin cancer. Only after her death, when British dj Terry Wogan played her music on UK Radio 2, she reached international fame. Why didn’t she manage during her life to break through, do you think?

 “While writing, you get to know a person behind the music. Eva had a lot of trouble meeting new people. Musically, she never had the confidence that she actually deserved. At primary school she was bullied because she was vulnerable. In love, she was unhappy and she was incredibly shy. She made many recordings with her boyfriend, Chris Biondo. Initially Eva could not even sing in the studio, let alone on stage. She locked herself up in a closet with a guitar and a microphone. She had a huge fear of failure. She probably inherited it from her father, who often told her that you should never be satisfied with her own performance. Despite her introverted nature, she nevertheless chose to enter the stage.”

 “Making music, preferably on her own in the studio, was everything to her. Every time the guys in the band tried to persuade her to play. She was very withdrawn and could only express herself through her music and her paintings. I think that she was a better musician than a painter though. “

 Most of the time she sang songs from others.  Why didn’t she write her own material?

 “Eva had a natural talent to improve existing songs like Over the Rainbow. She delivered the first note an octave higher, which was brilliant. Of course I’m very curious to see how her work would have sounded. In the jazz world, it is very common to play covers, it’s about what you do with them. You improvise on an existing theme. in pop music this is different, people expect you to make your own songs.”

 You tried to find Eva’s roots in your biography. How exactly did you do that?

 “It was a hard road and I had to operate very carefully. I started with an email to a website where the family sells reproductions of Eva’s paintings. I introduced myself as a Dutch journalist and said I wanted to write a book about Eva. Eva’s father responded. At the beginning he was very open and answered all my questions kindly, but once he realized I was working on a real book, he became hesitant and suddenly I didn’t receive response anymore. From that moment, I had to deal with the family lawyer, who told me that the family wanted not only to share in the profits and that I could only write what they allowed me to write. This was no option for me, because the book initially was intended for the Dutch market only. I had talks with small publishers. If you do research for two years, have to travel to America a few times and you sell a only few hundred books, this will not make you very rich. For me this was pure idealism.” 

Hugh and Barbara Cassidy

Hugh and Barbara Cassidy

And why did you decide to go on with this ambitious project?

 “As a music journalist, you want to leave a legacy more than just another CD review. When the Casisdy’s began about fifty percent of the profits, we were talking on totally different wavelengths. Luckily I was at the right time to contact Eva’s brother. Dan Cassidy had distanced himself a bit from the rest of the family, and he lives in Iceland. He wanted to talk to me in person to see what was exactly the point. Talking with him is pleasant, because he is a contemporary of mine. He likes to read music biographies, he understands that you should not glorify your subject and he felt that his sister deserved a good book. In a short time we have become friends. In May 2011, he invited me to meet his parents. This plan almost failed, because a volcano erupted in Iceland. Eventually the Cassidy’s and I talked one afternoon about all kinds of things. “

 You had to convince them of your intentions?

“At one time, the parents withdrew from the project. They literally said that time is too precious at their age. They tried to sign up under certain conditions. The lawyer from the Cassidy family had a red pen at the ready. She said. “We have three hundred hours of interview material on tape. On that basis, you can write a book..”  Of course, I could not agree. As a journalist I believe in the freedom of expression and no one can keep me from writing.”

Did you receive a response from the Cassidy family on your book?

 “Eva’s parents would rather have had a nice story. I know that they are not happy with the English title of the book. They say that Eva’s life wasn’t tragic. Another unfortunate choice of the publisher was the picture on the front, which was also on a previously published, uncritical book about Eva Cassidy.”

 You’ve never met Eva.  What would you have asked her if you had the chance?

 “I’d like to know how she would look at the quarrels between her parents and her former band members . I’m fairly certain that this would fill her with disgust. At the same time she was very close with her mother, who was her best friend. Another question would be how she would have developed musically. Her parents think that she would have become a soloist, but this has everything to do with the money issue that they have with the band members. If you listen to the CD Live at Blues Alley, you can hear that real band feeling. We’ll never know. “

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Eva Cassidy

Marcy Marxer made Eva sing again

“When Blix Street Records started running out of material they started looking at rehearsal tapes. Artists all over the Washington, DC area started donating to the cause. Bill Straw (president of Blix Street Records) gave me a cassette of Eva making a practice tape for a tune called ‘Dark Eyed Molly’. It was really meant as a rough tape so the band could learn the song.

The heads on the cassette were out of alignment and there was a terribly loud ground hum.Eva had a mic for singing on one track and the other track was the pickup from her acoustic guitar plugged directly into the cassette machine. There is an electric guitar player in the background playing along that is heard on the vocal track. The song arrangement Eva was playing had different chord changes for every verse but the guitar player didn’t know that in advance so he’s making quite a few mistakes not realizing he was being recorded. It would have been next to impossible for a player to follow along with no chart and not make mistakes.

Marcy Marxer

Marcy Marxer

The tape had a beautiful vocal on it but otherwise it was a real mess. I took it to two of the best engineers in town, Greg Lukens and Bill Wolf who were able to align the heads and roll off some of the bottom of the ground hum.

Then I took the track home to my studio and recorded the 2 tracks 11 times so all of my 24 tracks were full. I turned the EQ faders down on every track to eliminate as much sound as possible. Then I listened to each individual track to find a frequency that came from only Eva’s voice. That process left me with 24 strong tracks of frequencies from Eva’s voice.  It also had the effect of turning the things that were not coming from Eva’s voice down until her voice sat well above the other noises.

Then I used left and right panning knobs to get the audio image of her voice right.  Frequencies that sounded like her nose went in the middle, sounds that came off her cheek bones were panned to the sides, etc. it took a long time but I’ll never forget the moment when the audio image finally popped in front of me. I had my eyes closed with headphones on and her voice sounded like it was surrounding me.The entire process to that point took about two weeks. I kept working in one direction and when it wasn’t right I would start over.

American_tune_cd-back

American_tune_cd-back

Then it was time to put instruments on the track. I tried to match Eva’s guitar strumming exactly as she had played it. I couldn’t use her guitar because of the hum and poor recording. Then I filled out the song with instruments I knew she liked, 6 and 12 string acoustics recorded in lush stereo, bouzouki. There was still some distant electric guitar playing.  Some of it was good so I kept as much of it as possible. I added tinwhistle to cover up the mistakes in some places.

The whole process including adding instruments took about 3 weeks. I didn’t do any punching in and there was no click track. I played the entire tune over and over learning the small pauses, then played the whole pass to make it sound natural. The process that I developed opened a way to work with the old cassette tapes and I learned a lot in the process. There are computer programs that will do a lot of that work now.  It would be much easier these days!  

I did a final mix that I thought Eva would love and sent it to the record company.  It was the best I could do. Bill Straw remixed it for the American Tune album and added some of the ground hum back in. He likes a dirtier sound and wanted it to sound less polished. Now listeners can hear some of the electric guitar mistakes, too. It’s a matter of personal preference, really.” (Marcy Marxer)

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Eva’s music makes the world a better place. (guest blog Marcy Marxer)

Grace Griffiths ‘discovered’ Eva Cassidy and sent the tapes to Blix Street Records.

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marcyukelele

Coosje Smid gives voice to Fields of Gold again.

Coosje Smid (23) daughter of musical-singer Ernst Daniel Smid, auditioned succesfully for The Voice of Holland. Her glorious moment was broadcast on September 13th, exactly a year after the death of her mother Roos (47): ‘This wasn’t preconceived.’

‘It was a very special coincidence,’ says Smid, ‘on that date my whole life seemed to change. I have had a difficult time and I can use a bit of happiness.’

Coosje Smid The Voice

Coosje Smid The Voice

Coosje Smid sang Fields of Gold during the auditions in Eva Cassidy’s style. ‘This song is about the relationship I had with my mother. Before she became ill I sang  it several times  for her. Every time I sang it she cried. It is and will be our song forever.’ Smid doubted a long time wether she would join the talent competition. She graduated on the Dutch Pop Academy in 2009. A year later she won a Dutch Film Award for her supporting role in the film Joy in 2010.

My friends advised me to take a chance, but I was afraid to fail and gain negative publicity in that way. My father convinced me to do it with the words: ‘Nothing ventured, nothing gained’.

Coosje Smid

Coosje Smid

As soon as Coosje started to sing all four jury chairs turned round immediately. A few moments later Ilse de Lange, Marco Borsato and Ali B lay down at the singer’s feet and listened as if they were hypnotized.

Fields of Gold has been this weeks best sold single. Eva Cassidy’s own album The Best of Eva Cassidy has started its third life and entered the Dutch album charts again.       

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Coosje Smid

Mick Fleetwood and Eva Cassidy (guest blog post Niki Lee)

In 2003, I found a live recording of Eva Cassidy and her band playing with legendary drummer Mick Fleetwood

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Mick Fleetwood Sept 8 2011

How Can I Keep From Singing in Canada

‘When you begin with a wonderful story; add some stellar vocals, mix in some incredible music,  spice it up with a Gospel Choir,

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Cayla Brooke

Margriet Sjoerdsma and Dan Cassidy

Singer Margriet Sjoerdsma put together a theatre programme about Eva Cassidy.

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Dan Cassidy Margriet Sjoerdsma at Selexyz Amsterdam

The silver-grey angel that Eva’s father sculpted

There are many who regret that Eva Cassidy has no grave.

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Meeting Eva Cassidy’s parents

In the distance I spot Eva’s father, Hugh Cassidy, in the parking lot of New Carrolton metro station.

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Hugh and Barbara Cassidy

Made in Germany

“I was made in Germany,” Eva Cassidy used to tell her friends.

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Rheinstein-in-Bingen-am-Rhein

Two bootleg albums

As Eva’s star rose higher and higher Eva´s friends decided to release albums of previously unheard material. 

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Joel E. Siegel’s impressive liner notes on Eva By Heart

The album Eva By Heart was released by Chuck Brown’s label Liaison Records a year after Eva’s death in 1997.

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Eva By Heart

February 2, 2013: Eva Cassidy’s 50th birthday

“She represents all that is good in this world.” This quotation – that Eva added to the bottom of her portrait of Bernice, Chris Biondo’s dog – summarises Eva Cassidy’s own life precisely.

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Eva Matthew Dolls

The sad truth behind ‘Do Lord’

We get into the car again because Larry Melton likes to show me Annapolis.

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Ned Judy and Eva Cassidy as performing teenagers

New review ‘The Best of Eva Cassidy’

”The best’ of Eva Cassidy can be found in nearly every recorded performance by her,’ writes S. Victor Aaron.

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Eva Cassidy Somewhere

‘You Take My Breath Away’ about God?

Does ‘You Take My Breath Away’ describe a male-female relationship or is this a song about God?

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Reviews ‘The Best Of Eva Cassidy’

“The Best Of Eva Cassidy brings together Cassidy’s best loved renditions and, all in all, it’s a beautiful affair, demonstrating through its inspired tracklisting just what a vocal talent Cassidy was. Opening track ‘You Take My Breath Away’ is a glorious ode to overpowering love, complete with gentle piano and guitar, combined with stunning vocal delivery. It truly is Cassidy’s extraordinary voice that underpins this as an essential collection for anyone’s iPod. Download it, sit on the sofa, close your eyes and drift away on a cloud of musical magic. What more fitting tribute can there be to a much-missed talent, who, despite not having lived to see the fruits of her labour, continues to touch the hearts of millions to this very day. ” (So So Gay)

“Take Karen Carpenter: a nice, regular voice but somehow it touched people.
It’s the same with the Eva Cassidy phenomenon: without going into the back story it is basically a voice that is honestly nothing extraordinary but somehow touching and lovely.

This collection of the best from albums such as Songbird, Imagine, Time After Time and her Live At Blues Alley merely rounds up favourites and adds one previously unreleased track, You Take My Breath Away, in a version different from the one on American Tune. Simple and beautiful.” ****(Daily Express)

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The Best of Eva Cassidy

Meeting Larry Melton, Eva’s first bass player

While we shake hands Larry raises his sunglasses in a greeting.

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Dutch edition of the Eva Cassidy biography is available

Johan and his publishers Rob and Jacky presenting the new Dutch edition of the Eva Cassidy biography at Snoek´s bookstore in Rotterdam
 
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Johan, Jacky en Rob bij Boekhandel Snoek

‘The Best of Eva Cassidy’ available on 29th October

On the eve of what would have been Eva Cassidy’s 50th birthday, Blix Street Records announce the release of ‘The Best of Eva Cassidy’, a definitive new collection of 20 of the late singers best-loved and most acclaimed songs. Having achieved 3 UK No.1 albums, a UK No.1 duet single, and with global sales now in excess of 10 million, this is the first time the cream of Eva’s repertoire has appeared together.

The lead track of the album is a previously unreleased version of Claire Hamill’s delicately intimate, yet stirring love song You Take My Breath Away. While a 1993 ‘demo’ version of the song concluded Eva’s American Tune album this previously unheard recording was one of several work in progress tracks at the time of her passing in 1996. Delivered by a more musically evolved and confident Eva, her flawless vocal performance reaches a new level. With the aide of new digital technologies Eva’s former band mates Chris Biondo and Lenny Williams recently set to work sonically enhancing Eva’s original guitar/vocal studio recording. After maximizing the sound quality of Eva’s vocal tour de force, the two augmented the production with piano, double bass and a string quartet, creating the definitive version of what’s certain to become one of Eva’s best-loved performances.

 “Hearing Eva perform my song was probably the most important moment of my career. I felt validated as a songwriter, an indescribable feeling. When I heard how a new version was to feature as the lead track on the new “Best Of” album I was literally over the moon. Eva will always mean the world to me, her beautiful voice will stay with me forever.” Claire Hamill

tracklist The Best of Eva Cassidy

tracklist The Best of Eva Cassidy
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The Best of Eva Cassidy

Pre-order the Dutch edition of Eva Cassidy, The Biography

If you pre-order the book you will save shipping costs. Publication date: 19th October 2012.

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Eva Cassidy, De Biografie Cover

Journey to America

A volcanic eruption is spoiling my plan to travel to America.

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Meeting Dan Cassidy

After all my stumbling around in the dark trying to gain information it’s nothing less than a breakthrough when Dan Cassidy writes, completely of the blue, that he would like to meet me.

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Dan Cassidy

Dan Cassidy and James Hickman

James Hickman and Dan Cassidy are a newly formed transatlantic folk and roots duo.

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Radio 1 The Culture Summer

Tuesday July 3rd Radio 1 (The Netherlands)

7.30 PM The Culture Summer – Jellie Brouwer

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jellie-brouwer

Deborah Rose adapts an Eva poem into a song

An unrecorded Eva Cassidy poem is being released by singer Deborah Rose.

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Deborah Rose

Winner People’s Book Prize!

Once it was my dream to write a book.

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People´s Book Prize 2

People´s Book Prize

May 29th voting will close for the finalists of the People´s Book Prize. Please vote for the Eva Cassidy Biography Behind the Rainbow and spread the news! Voting is easy!

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People´s Book Prize

Obituary Chuck Brown (1936 – 2012)

Chuck Brown, one of the most popular artists in Washington D.C., died at John Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore on May 16.

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Chuck Brown

Interview author Over the Rainbow musical

After seeing the musical I spoke with its author Brian Langtry.

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Musical Over the Rainbow

Katie Stokes’ wink

Unexpected meetings with Zoe Tyler and Katie Stokes

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Zoe Tyler

Motherwell

Motherwell seems to be an impossible destination.

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Eva’s parents

Eva’s parents, frequently portrayed in British newspapers and magazines, are not as easy to trace as Chris Biondo.

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Hugh and Barbara Cassidy

Nominated for the People’s Book Prize

Behind the Rainbow has been nominated for the People’s Book Prize. Please register and vote for the book here:

 http://www.peoplesbookprize.com/book.php?id=710

 

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The idea to write a book

Many people are fascinated by the voice of Eva Cassidy. Wouldn’t it be a good idea to write a book about her?

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Chris Biondo

The beginning

It starts with meeting Katie Melua in a small antique lift…

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KatieMelua

My first musical love

When I was about seven years old, the postman put a parcel in our mailbox that would influence my life permanently: an advertisement record. My mother said immediately: ‘You can have it, if you like.’ I explored the unexpected present in stages. First, I studied the colourful cover with the singers Petula Clark and Maria Callas. Petula Clark seemed the more ordinary of the two. She was the proverbial girl-next-door with neatly combed blonde hair, a modest smile and an unremarkable necklace. Maria Callas seemed a lady of a totally different order. Her bright red lips, her black-outlined eyes under ominous eyebrows radiated a dangerous kind of attractiveness. She was draped in an excessive amount of jewels that she had undoubtedly purloined from her rich lover Onassis. My mother advised me to stay away as far as possible from such a woman.

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MariaCallas

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