Eva Cassidy was a thoughtful, emotive singer. Her nuanced interpretations of jazz tunes, pop songs, and folk melodies earned her much acclaim in her lifetime. Her death at age 33 in 1996 prompted many to mourn a life cut short, while also celebrating the person and the clear soprano voice that impacted so many listeners.
February 2, 2023 would have been Eva Cassidy’s 60th birthday, so we asked some of CKUA’s hosts to pick a favourite Eva Cassidy song. Here are their choices.
“My favourite is ‘I Wish I Was A Single Girl Again.’ Her voice is so clear, and feels so honest and true. I love her blues and big band arrangements, but this track, with just guitar and voice, always makes me melt.” – Kate Stevens
“Eva’s was a singular voice. Delicate, yet strong. Pitch-perfect in the traditional sense and well-suited for a simple acoustic setting, but not overshadowed by bigger, soulful arrangements. She knew a great song when she heard one. Eva was a fine songbird who covered outstanding compositions and made them her own. One of my favourite covers is her version of ‘People Get Ready,’ written by Curtis Mayfield.” – Bob Chelmick
“I love her phrasing on ‘Fields of Gold.'” – Amy van Keeken
“The best single record Eva ever released is brand new. It’s her version of Buffy’s ‘Tall Trees in Georgia.’ Originally recorded live in 1996 (the year she died) at Blues Alley in DC with just a guitar and room noises, the producers gave her vocals an AI treatment that turned it into a glorious ballad surrounded and supported by the London Symphony Orchestra. Pure Magic. Warning: for some it shall surely bring tears.” – Terry David Mulligan
“Her live version of T-Bone Walker’s ‘Stormy Monday‘ is powerful and passionate. Eva could inhabit the story. It’s incredible that time-honoured classics were transformed into something new when she sang.” – Tom Coxworth
“In ‘Fields of Gold,’ I love how Eva was exploring not only songs from the Great American Songbook, but that of other contemporaries that were jazz influenced such as Sting, who is an artist that resonates for many in the jazz world.” – Kodi Hutchinson
“At first blush I thought Eva Cassidy’s voice a little ‘reedy’ sounding, though I was impressed with her emotional investment in covering works by other artists. Then I heard her version of ‘Autumn Leaves‘ and saw a video of her performing the song at Blues Alley. She sends shivers down my spine now and always. Happy birthday to a beautiful soul we lost too soon!” – Tony King
“There’s something special about the way her version of ‘Wade in the Water‘ ties together a bunch different strands of what makes her such a unique talent. It’s an old spiritual that calls up both her feeling for gospel and for traditional folk music; it has an acoustic vibe to it, but with a bluesy drive and a jazzy airiness; and the band’s supple groove allows her understated, otherworldly voice to spirit us away.” – Grant Stovel
“I always liked her reading of ‘Who Knows Where the Time Goes.’ Eva was great at covers of others songs and her reading of this classic by Fairport Convention that originally featured Sandy Denny on vocals was spot on. It definitely got some airplay on Alberta Morning when I was hosting between 1994 and 2001.” – Cam Hayden