Realities Created, Maintained and Destroyed, WHILE-U-WAIT!

Friday, April 07, 2006

The light that burns brightest burns quickest

A couple weeks ago a friend brought over the DVD set of the first season of "Smallville", or as I like to think of it, the Superman Soap Opera.

Over the next week I managed to watch most of the episodes. It was fun, but nothing to write home about.

But on one of the last DVD's, at the end of an episode during a funeral scene there was a song. It was a cover of "Time After Time", the old Cindi Lauper song. It was nothing fancy, just one guitar and one voice, but it was beautiful. The woman who was singing had a rich, expressive voice with excellent range. But more importantly she had a sort of subdued passion. I could believe she was singing to someone, not to an audience, but to someone who she cared for, someone she missed.

I waited for the end credits to find out who did the song, but they didn't say.

For the next week, now and again I would remember the song and the sad, sweet voice singing it. Finally, I took the time to start hunting down the artist

It took a while, but I discovered Eva Cassidy, born February 2nd, 1963, died November 2, 1996.
I had never hear of her. No one around here had heard of her.

I managed to track down the CD that had the Lauper cover, and I discovered that everything else she had done was as good or better. I have to admit that I was a bit appalled that I had never heard of her.

My next discovery was that this woman who could sing achingly beautiful ballads could sing the Blues at least as well. She reminds me a bit of Billy Holiday, a bit of Aretha Franklin.

So I have been collecting her music. As far as I can find, she has seven CD's out and every one is worth every penny.

Her work covers a wide range. Her first solo album was "Live at Blues Alley" and it has some great tunes. They say "The Blues is the truth" and she tells some serious truth on this album.

I don't think anyone could top Louis Armstrong doing "What a Wonderful World", but she comes close, and her rendition of "Honeysuckle Rose" is sweet.

My very favorite of her songs is "I Know You By Heart" from her "Songbird" album. It is one of the most exquisitely, sadly sweet songs of lost love I have ever heard. If you can listen to it without your heart breaking just a little bit you have no soul.

So my dear readers, I am doing for you what I wish someone had done for me years ago. I am telling you to find some of Eva Cassidy's music and listen to it. It will make your world a better place just by the experience.



redburns said...

I'm a fan of hers as well.. so good...

her "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" just beautiful...

be well,

Mushtaq Ali said...

Yes she is.

She really did a great job on "Over the Rainbow". I also loved her rendition of "Imagine"

I put on one of her albums for my Silat class the evening. People kept stopping to listen instead of wacking each other :)

The Wayward Seeker said...


I'll make sure to check her out. But if you're a big fan of Billy Holiday and/or tge blues (I don't think you can love one and not the other)...then look up Madeleine Peyroux if you haven't done so already. She has a breathtaking voice...Had the pleasure of hearing her live at the Toronto Jazz Festival a little while back.


Adam said...

Turns out my mom does know about Eva Cassidy and she is a fan as well. Oh, I'm trying to get her to come to another class sometime.

Mushtaq Ali said...


She's always welcome.

Gov. Silver said...

Congratulations on your discovery of this great, late singer/songwriter! My mom turned me on to her as well.

Eva Cassidy's rendition of "Fever" is a staple of the swing dance community.

B said...

Are you sure they were stopping to listen and weren't just dazed? lol j/k

Don said...

My next discovery was that this woman who could sing achingly beautiful ballads could sing the Blues at least as well. She reminds me a bit of Billy Holiday, a bit of Aretha Franklin.

If Eva did this for you, I suggest giving Cassandra Wilson a try. (She did her own version of "Time After Time" on the Traveling Miles album.) "Jazz" is just the term used to try and pigeonhole her; her vocals and arrangements literally explore the interstices between American pop, jazz, delta city blues, and gospel, and she only expands her territory (especially in her latest, Thunderbird). And, she's always backed by monsters who are as good at their instruments as she is with her voice.

I've got about half her catalogue and each time I listen to an album, it's almost--I just don't have any other term--a spiritual experience for me. In addition to the ones I've named, I'd recommend Belly of the Sun, although you could just about pick anything in her catalogue at random.

Sorry for the length--whenever I start talking about her, I turn into an evangelist before I realize what's happening :).

Gov. Silver said...

I need to correct myself. Eva's "Wading In The Water" is the swing dance standard, not "Fever", which, while popular in the swing dance scene, was actually recorded by another singer - at least the most popular version.