Eva Cassidy – I Can Only Be Me – Blix Street Records

by | Feb 17, 2023 | Jazz CD Reviews | 0 comments

Eva Cassidy + strings, a dream combination…

Eva Cassidy – I Can Only Be Me – Blix Street Records #G2-10121 – 40:26 -****1/2 – 

(Eva Cassidy – original vocals and acoustic guitar; Lenny Williams – original piano (#2); Raice McLeod – original drums (#3); Christopher Willis – organ (#3), piano (#3, 5, 8,9); Andrew Synowiec – guitars (#3, 7, 8); Nick Vincent – drums (#3, 7, 8); Michael Valerio – acoustic & electric bass (#3, 7, 8) – with The London Symphony Orchestra on all orchestra parts)

Eva Cassidy was an American multi-genre singer, whose flame burned bright in the 1980s thru the mid 90s, before tragically passing away from cancer at only 33 years old. She largely was only known (when she was alive), in the Washington D.C area, where she often performed at the Blues Alley club.

After her death, her posthumous fame took off, when the world became exposed to her glorious version of “Over the Rainbow.” It became a world wide hit, and her album, Songbird, spent six months on the UK Top 10.

Eva’s voice is sublime, a combination of “blue-eyed soul,” gospel, folk, and jazz. Her soprano range was glorious and inspiring.

In honor of what would have been her 60th birthday, Blix Street Records, is releasing a special project, combining Eva’s remastered vocals backed by the London Symphony Orchestra. Using a unique machine learning audio restoration technology developed by noted filmmaker, Peter Jackson, the process splits mono tracks into separate vocal and instrumental parts. This enabled Cassidy’s vocals to be separated, restored , and enhanced. Orchestral arrangements utilizing the magnificent strings of the London Symphony Orchestra (recorded in Dec. 2021 at St. Luke’s Church in London, the home of the orchestra) were done by noted film arranger, Christopher Willis. Mr. Willis added organ and piano on five of the nine tracks.

The song list is classic Eva Cassidy staples including mega hits “Songbird,” and “Tall Trees in Georgia.” Eva puts her own spin on Curtis Mayfield’s “People Get Ready,” Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time,” and Bill Wither’s “Ain’t No Sunshine.”

The combination of Eva’s striking soul-stirring vocals, with soaring string accompaniment, is not to be missed. If this pairing doesn’t bring on misty eyes, then I would be shocked. Eva Cassidy has a huge following, now world wide. This is an audio treat for all her fans. Count me in as a proud member…

Eva Cassidy – I Can Only Be Me

Autumn Leaves
People Get Ready
Waly Waly
Time After Time
Tall Trees in Georgia
Ain’t No Sunshine
You’ve Changed
I Can Only Be Me

—Jeff Krow

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