Eva Cassidy: The Voice and the Silence


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I'm used to reading lists of the favorite musicians of young people and not knowing but - maybe - one out of every ten. As opposed to when I was twenty and could name every band in the free world, their members, their albums, who produced their albums, and what session musicians they used, now I know about ten current bands. Well, I'm fifty-seven. I'm not supposed to know this stuff. So, I've adopted a fine Irish smile and a shrug and an uncharacteristic (for me), “Oh, well..."

So it was when I was watching American Idol two seasons ago and, after watching David Archuleta reinvent John Lennon's “Imagine", I read, the following morning, that the arrangement I loved so much was lifted, pretty much wholesale, from a singer named Eva Cassidy. Blank. No clue, no bells ringing. I picture an obscure California folk-rock cover-girl type and shrug. “Hey," I wrote in the P-I SoundOffs, “It was him singing it, not Eva Cassidy." But now, I have the name. She's on my radar. And periodically, for the next eighteen months, I note her name popping up on the 'net.

Then, about a week ago, I'm reading an article about a current musician I do know and like, Imogen Stubbs - also an actress from London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts - in which she casually mentions that she's written a play, directed by Trevor Nunn, about the late Jeff Buckley and...Eva Cassidy?

So, I google her. Get a tsunami of hits. I start digging. She's from...Bowie, Maryland, about ten miles from where I lived in Maryland for ten years. She used to play The Bayou in Georgetown. I played The Bayou in Georgetown. She worked with bassist Keter Betts. So did I. And, she partnered up with Chuck Brown, DC's legendary soul singer...with whom I did some gigs back in the 70s.

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