Eva Cassidy (February 2, 1963 – November 2, 1996)
On this day in 1963, Barbara and Hugh Cassidy became the proud parents of a little baby girl, Eva. That little gill who began to sing and play guitar at the age of nine and by the time she was 11 was playing in a local band in and around the suburbs of Washington, D.C.grew up to have one of the my beautiful, soulful voices that I have ever heard. Then in 1996, at the age of 33 she was gone another victim of cancer in Eva’s case the cancer was melanoma. When she died, she was relatvely unknown outside of the Washington DC area. But in the DC area that knew her….
In 1993, Cassidy was honored by the Washington Area Music Association with a Wammie award for the Vocalist Jazz/Traditional category. The next year she was invited to perform at the event and chose to sing “Over the Rainbow”. A Washington Times review of the event called her performance “a show-stopper”. She took home two Wammies that night, again for Vocalist Jazz/Traditional and also for Roots Rock/Traditional R&B.
.And then four years after her passing…..
…. Cassidy’s music was brought to the attention of British audiences when her versions of “Fields of Gold” and “Over the Rainbow” were played by Mike Harding and Terry Wogan on BBC Radio 2. Following the overwhelming response, a camcorder recording of “Over the Rainbow”, taken at Blues Alley in Washington by her friend Bryan McCulley, was shown on BBC Two’s Top of the Pops 2. Shortly afterwards, the compilation album Songbird climbed to the top of the UK Albums Charts, almost three years after its initial release. The chart success in the United Kingdom and Ireland led to increased recognition worldwide; her posthumously released recordings, including three UK number 1 records, have sold more than ten million copies. Her music has also charted top 10 positions in Australia, Germany, Sweden, Norway and Switzerland
So while it’s kinda’ a bittersweet day, as we reflect on Eva’s birth, death and what should have been, any day that reminds me to listen to Eva’s version of “Fields of Gold” is a good day!!