Saturday, June 27, 2009

Bowie Singing Sensation

No, I'm not talking about JC Chasez of N'Sync, although he was from Bowie. And, no, I'm not talking about Kathie Lee Gifford, although she grew up in Bowie back in the days when people knew her as Kathie Lee Epstein. I'm talking about Eva Cassidy, a lesser known singer (depending on what circles you travel in).

Eva Cassidy's Wikipedia page does a far better job telling her story than I can. The hi-lights are that she had an incredible voice, and she had a distinctive style that she applied to multiple genres. She tragically died in 1996 at the age of 33 from melanoma. Her popularity grew after her death, especially in Europe. The following quote can be found on her Wikipedia page.

Jazz critic Ted Gioia writes, "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.

I first heard her music back in 1999. It was a live album taped at Blues Alley in D.C. The album was appropriately called Live at Blues Alley. It's still my favorite Eva Cassidy album, and being a blues guy, my favorite song on the album is Stormy Monday. According to the story, the plan was to record over two nights. A technical glitch caused the first night's recordings to be useless, and Eva wasn't happy with the second night's recordings because she had a cold. Luckily, she was convinced to use the second night's recordings for the album, and a friend of hers also videotaped the performance the second night.

The following are links to YouTube videos of Eva Cassidy. Some were recorded at Blues Alley.


  1. Eva Cassidy was great. I think we have all of her albums.

    She worked at Behnke's, by the way.

  2. I didn't know that, but I did a Google search and found this write-up. Interesting.

  3. My husband played with her several times when she was performing with Chuck Brown. What a beautiful voice. My favorite is her version of "Over the Rainbow."

  4. Cyndy, interesting connection. The "Over the Rainbow" video on YouTube has nearly 4 million views, and there are daily comments from people that love that performance. She really took that song and made it her own.