Best of Eva Cassidy by Eva Cassidy (Album Review)

The Best of Eva Cassidy – Commemorative Release

A couple of days ago saw the 50th birthday of Eva Cassidy, a talented and under celebrated talent.  To commemorate the landmark, this ‘Best of’ album has been released covering 20 of the late singers most acclaimed songs, both released and unreleased.  Many of you may know the name Eva Cassidy but may not have heard her material.  Well lets put this in to some context for you.  Eva Cassidy was hugely successful.  She sold over 10m globally, including three number one album in the US and a number one single in the UK.  This album is the first time her acclaimed catalogue has appeared together.

Best of Eva Cassidy

Best of Eva Cassidy

Eva Cassidy is remembered by many for what she achieved some 16 years ago. On the 17th of September 1996 a young woman, accompanied by a few dozen family and friends, attended her own tribute concert in a small club in Georgetown, Washington DC. Transcending the effects of chemotherapy and morphine in that moment, the singer abandoned her walker and was helped onto the stage for what would be her final performance, ‘What a Wonderful World’. A few weeks later Eva Cassidy passed away, having been diagnosed with melanoma months earlier. Refusing to bend her music to the industry’s conventions and expectations, Eva was known only within the DC area during her lifetime. She left behind one live album, a duet album, and various studio demos and live recordings. In these intervening 16 years, Eva‘s music has proven timeless and universal. Crossing all boundaries – musical, cultural, geographical – her voice survived and is finding new listeners every day in every corner of the earth. These 20 defining performances document Eva Cassidy‘s musical legacy for the ages.

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

This ‘Best of’ album contains some beautiful tracks that puts a lot of contemporary music to shame.  A great voice that you can get lost in. Accompanied by some elegantly put together music, the album provides a backdrop to a dream world that tells many stories with the realness of the total package.  The album is out now and you should all have a listen.

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