A collection of previously unreleased solo guitar/vocal performances!
Cassidy`s singing voice was a crystalline soprano, ideal for the ballads and folk songs she performed. However, she also had tremendous power and when she turned to soul, blues and gospel-flavored material her voice resounded with emotional sincerity. Her repertoire drew from all these areas and from the more melodic aspects of contemporary pop.
Ten years after she first topped the British chars you may think you've heard all there is to hear from Eva Cassidy. Think again. You may have heard most of these classic Eva songs before but , as sure as less is more, you have not experienced anything like this collection of previously unreleased Eva-only, guitar/vocal performances. It's like hearing Eva Cassidy for the first time, again.
In addition to including the previously unreleased San Francisco Bay Blues, Simply Eva is the first album to include the Blues Alley guitar/vocal performance of Over the Rainbow embodied the Rainbow video that triggered Eva Cassidy's rise to the top of the British Pop Chars in March, 2001. Recorded five years after the 1991 version heard on Songbird, Eva's fully evolved Rainbow literally redefined this all-time number one popular song (according to a BBC radio poll).
The differences in the performances of the other songs range from folk versions of Wayfaring Stranger and Wade In the Water, to three extra verses in the included version of Kathy's Song, to the more subtle nuances that grace every individual performance.
On a higher level, the overall experience of the first top to bottom Eva-only album transcends specific differences. My personal opinion that less is more in this instances is not meant as criticism of the supporting musical performances contained on previously released Eva Cassidy recordings. It was simply time to focus on the core of Eva Cassidy recordings, namely, the voice of "one of the greatest interpreters of popular song of the last 30 years" (Mojo Magazine) and Eva's superb guitar work which had been a bit lost in the shuffle of other instruments. In doing so, I literally heard Eva for the first time, again. That I was hearing mostly the same songs in a different way actually added to my sense of re-discovery.
The extent to which less is more is obviously an "ear of the beholder" question with answers as varied as listeners and listening circumstances. All musical background components, including Eva's own sparkling background vocals, serve to draw-in listeners while to some degree splitting listener attention.
Presenting music is similar to the framing of paintings, or the setting of precious stones. The goal is to strike the proper balance between core and background. Eva Cassidy's music attained broad international acceptance at the dawn of an age of unprecedented competition for the attention of a growing interactive audience. While the goal posts of perception are moving in time, the goal of finding the proper balance remains the same.
Eva Cassidy's small, but magically productive body of work now serves as a beacon to a new generation of singers exploring the musical giants who have gone before, starting in many instances with Eva herself. For those who would study the music of Eva Cassidy, less is definitely more. For everyone else, whether less is more, or not, Simply Eva provides an opportunity to experience the unadorned music of Eva Cassidy and decide for yourself.