Eva Cassidy – beauty, tragedy, and some incredible covers

eva_cassidy02I’ll be completely honest: Most of the reasons I write for Earn This or any other publication are selfish reasons: I love being able to express myself and see my writing out there and get comments and feel like an expert.

But there are moments when I feel like at least a small portion of my work provides some service. For example, I feel like I’ve done the world some good by sharing my love of Relient K, a band that is greatly under-appreciated and that more people would love if RK wasn’t pigeonholed as a “Christian” band.

Today is another example of me actually feeling like I’m doing the world some good by sharing my love for maybe the most expressive singer of the past quarter century. I don’t have to do too much writing here because her career is pretty thoroughly chronicled on the sites run by her family and a small group of passionate fans. Plus, her music speaks for itself.

Eva Cassidy was a singer from Maryland who died of melanoma only a few years into her professional recording career, before she made it big. One of her albums caught a bit of posthumous fire across the pond, but in America, she remains largely forgotten.

The Washington Post — who covered her because she mostly performed around the DC area, not far from my hometown — wrote not long after her death in 1996 that “she could sing anything — folk, blues, pop, jazz, R&B, gospel — and make it sound like it was the only music that mattered.” Pretty succinct, if you ask me.

Cassidy was destined to never make it big because of her adherence to a more traditional set of musics. Her most popular and most moving songs were slow and mellow and almost painfully beautiful. She covered dozens of blues songs but also a small sample of pop songs. Many of these recordings are nothing more than grainy recordings of her singing with an acoustic guitar, but her voice just knocks the songs out of the park.

You can read a bit more about her life and growth as an artist — including her overwhelming stage fright early in her career — by googling her name. Her official page run by her parents at www.evacassidy.com is a good starting point for background info.

But, honestly, it’s all about her music. I highly recommend her moving pop song covers. A few favorites:

If you like what you hear, give some of her less ubiquitous tunes a listen, too.

Dan S.

Dan is the editor of Earn This. He co-founded the site in 2009.

2 thoughts on “Eva Cassidy – beauty, tragedy, and some incredible covers

  1. i listened to time after time before reading this – you’re right! so stunning. i didn’t know anything else about her when i listened to the song…wow.

  2. Eva Cassidy was perhaps the best singing talent of a generation. I’m a bit dubious about that photo you have used though because it doesn’t look like her.

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