…You’ll remember me

Though she died in relative-obscurity and never had a chance to meet him, the world-famous Sting would certainly come to know her name.  After listening to her rendition of his “Fields of Gold” he later said, “I heard this voice and it was so beautiful, so pure, and (then the song) is playing on Radio 2. Then lo and behold, it’s Number One in England. Even though it’s a sad tragic story, it has kind of a poetry about it.”

From an early age, Eva Marie Cassidy (born in Washington, DC in 1963) displayed a keen interest in art and music. Her father taught her to play the guitar and encouraged her to sing and play at family gatherings.  Yet she was always exceedingly shy and found it difficult to perform in front of strangers.  Oh but she still loved to sing and, despite her inhibitions, performed in small venues, garnering local acclaim for her inspired interpretations of blues, jazz, gospel, folk, country and pop classics.

In 1992 Cassidy released a duet album with funk musician, Chuck Brown and although the Washington Area Music Association honored her in both the Jazz/Traditional and Roots Rock/R&B categories, her unwillingness to narrow her stylistic focus to one genre nixed any chances of securing a record deal.  So she continued to perform locally, with occasional visits to the recording studio and finally self-released a solo album in 1996.  Mainly taped live at Georgetown’s Blues Alley in a single evening, it displays her eclecticism in covering artists as varied as: Billie Holiday, Pete Seeger, Al Green, Paul Simon, Curtis Mayfield, Fats Waller, Irving Berlin and (of course) Sting.

Then the unfathomable occurred. A few weeks later, Eva Cassidy was diagnosed with terminal melanoma and on November 2, 1996  she died at the age of 33.  Her debut studio album (“Eva by Heart”) was posthumously released the following year by a producer who, as a labor of love, also assembled a compilation CD called, “Songbird”.

Nearly three years after its quiet release a copy of “Songbird” somehow landed in the hands of BBC Radio 2’s Terry Wogan who played it regularly. In late 2000 it was the Number One album on the British charts, with three Number 1 singles including today’s selection. “Songbird” has since sold more than ten million copies worldwide and in the years that have followed a number of other posthumous Cassidy releases have also ascended the charts.

Like Sting, Paul McCartney and Eric Clapton can also be counted as Eva Cassidy fans, as can a wide variety of industry critics:  “Her silken soprano voice (had) a wide and seemingly effortless range, unerring pitch and a gift for phrasing that at times was heart-stoppingly eloquent,” wrote the New York Times….

“There’s an undeniable emotional appeal in hearing an artist who you know died in obscurity singing a song about hope and a mystical world beyond everyday life,” wrote The Guardian

But Jazz critic, Ted Gioia perhaps summed it best… “You might be tempted to write off the ‘Cassidy sensation’ as a response to the sad story of the singer’s abbreviated life rather than as a measure of her artistry. But don’t be mistaken, Cassidy was a huge talent, whose obscurity during her lifetime was almost as much a tragedy as her early death.”

LISTEN TO TODAY’S SONG – Tuesday 6 March

 Fields of Gold

You’ll remember me when the west wind moves among the fields of barley

You can tell the sun in his jealous sky when we walked in fields of gold

So she took her love for to gaze awhile among the fields of barley

In his arms she fell as her hair came down among the fields of gold.

Will you stay with me, will you be my love among the fields of barley?

And you can tell the sun in his jealous sky when we walked in fields of gold

 I never made promises lightly and there have been some that I’ve broken

But I swear in the days still left we’ll walk in fields of gold

We’ll walk in fields of gold

I never made promises lightly and there have been some that I’ve broken

But I swear in the days still left we’ll walk in fields of gold

We’ll walk in fields of gold

 Many years have passed since those summer days among the fields of barley

See the children run as the sun goes down as you lie in fields of gold

You’ll remember me when the west wind moves among the fields of barley

You can tell the sun in his jealous sky when we walked in fields of gold

When we walked in fields of gold, when we walked in fields of gold


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s