Eva Cassidy - Who Knows Where The Time Goes - by Sandy Denny
Thanks to CasaLucita for this 5' 40" video uploaded on Jun 28, 2008: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5xv5t70u-ZI&feature=player_embedded
Eva Cassidy was a phenomenal American vocalist, arranger and guitarist who could and did sing a bit of everything; folk, blues, country, rock, r&b, standards, gospel and jazz.
Eva was born February 2, 1963 and raised in Maryland. By the age of three, it was clear Eva had a natural talent for art as her drawings were remarkably different from most young children. Eva's musical abilities also emerged early. Eva's father began teaching her guitar at age nine and recalls Eva singing solo with her guitar by age ten.
Over the years, Eva's art and music blossomed and greatly expanded. As an artist, Eva dabbled in a bit of everything; drawing, painting, cartooning, pottery and beadwork to name a few. As a musician, Eva played with a variety of people and bands but her musical talents and tastes were so broad, she befuddled the record companies who simply did not know how to market her. Several major record labels showed an interest in her, but by her early 30's, none had signed her.
At the urging of her long-time friend and producer, Chris Biondo, Eva spent the money to record a live performance at Blues Alley in January 1996. Songs from this live performance can be seen on You Tube (two of which you can find in my Video Log). Every song she sang at that performance is incredibly beautiful, but Eva was not at all pleased with her delivery because of a cold she was suffering that night. Although terribly unhappy with the result of those recordings and at first refusing to have the album released, Eva finally relented and the album received great reviews in the Washington, D.C. area. The album and the actual video from that night are a national treasure.
Six months after Eva's live performance at Blues Alley, she began experiencing hip pain which she initially dismissed, thinking it was a result of being on a ladder while painting murals. In July of 1996, Eva was diagnosed with cancer and given the prognosis of having only three months to live. In September, Eva attended a party thrown in her honor at The Bayou. At the party, Eva sang what was to be her last song in public. She choose "What a Wonderful World". There reportedly was not a dry eye in the place.
On November 2, 1996 Eva Marie Cassidy passed away in her parent's home surrounded by friends and loved ones.
Four years later, Eva's music was "discovered" in Britain. Posthumously released CDs have gone Gold and Platinum. While she is widely known in the UK, Eva is still relatively unknown in the United States. It is my hope that someday soon Eva Cassidy will be well known in her own country and that millions of people will enjoy her huge talent.
I'll conclude with one of my favorite quotes about Eva, made by Bruce Lundvall, President of Blue Note Records. Of Eva he said:
"She was a real artist, one of the great ones. She had the magic -- the thing that goes beyond being a really wonderful, creative artist. She had the touch of God on her head -- that touch of individuality and spirituality that made her stand out above all the others. She had that ...
Herbie Hancock said it best to me. He said: 'You know there are good musicians in every field of music and there are some that are great, really great, but then there are those few who have that magic, that other dimension, that must come from God', and that's how I feel about Eva."
To which I say, "Amen".
As always, my heartfelt appreciation goes to Barbara and Hugh Cassidy for bringing Eva into our world and to Chris Biondo for believing in Eva and making it possible for us to still hear her.
For more information about Eva Cassidy's incredible music, art, life and legacy of inspiration, here are two beautiful websites created by members of Eva's family:
http://www.evacassidy.com (books, artwork and cds are available on this site)
http://www.evacassidy.org (a wonderful wealth of information)
And here's a link to a documentary on Eva Cassidy's story:
ABC Nightline Program Eva Cassidy (aired nationally four times)
BBC Eva Cassidy Story: