on July 19, 2004
I believe I'm writing this more for myself than for readers who can look at five hundred previous reviews. I was so moved by Eva Cassidy's songs that I want to share my thoughts with everyone. I recieved a copy of 'Songbird' from my sister in law. I rarely prefer a second version of a familiar song so I was hesitant to even listen to this CD which included some old favorites. Then I had to take a long drive and had nothing new to listen to, so I listened to Eva. I was stunned. The music really got to me and I had not seen her or heard Eva's tragic story. I've since purchased all Eva's CDs and enjoyed each as much as the first. It is difficult to describe the impact of listening to Eva Cassidy for the first time. I doubt anyone will ever forget the experience. She is amazing!
on June 9, 2004
The beautiful, irreplaceable Eva Cassidy died at the young age of 33, leaving behind a treasury of beautiful and bluesy songs she reinvented with her beautiful voice, guided by an intuitive grace. SONGBIRD is like no album I have ever heard. It has a quiet strength, not unlike Eva herself, that sets it apart from all folk, jazz, blues and pop albums.
The first cut, "Fields of Gold," was made completely unrecognizable from Sting's original. The words took on a different meaning for me, and Eva's melancholy voice made me think of those moments of solitude in the early morning before life begins to emerge, where you can truly be alone with your thoughts in introspection. Eva also has an amazing talent for pumping even more soul into the blues, R&B, gospel and jazz songs she interprets on the album. ("Wade in the Water," "Wayfaring Stranger," "People Get Ready,")
Of course, one of the most well known tracks off of this collection is her arrangement and interpretation of "Over the Rainbow." This truly brought tears to my eyes! When I finished listening to it, the yellow brick road and Dorothy were nowhere to be found.......all I could see was Eva, surrounded by her beautiful light and energy that permeates throughout this recording.
This album will change the way you think about music. Please listen to the samples and make your call. Believe me, this will become a frequently-played part of your CD collection.
on March 4, 2004
I was looking forward to receiving this album more than anything I've ordered in quite some time. The reviews in here are glowing and remarkable, yet I was a little disappointed in the CD. Being I had never heard an Eva Cassidy album and bought it on the strength of Fields of Gold, which is on the Greatest Chillout Album in the World album, it is a so-so album. Fields of Gold, Songbird and Over the Rainbow are out of this world. If I could rate those songs only the album would be a 10. A few of the other songs irritated me, mainly Wade in the Water and Wayfaring Stranger. I am not a fan of women who sing high, namely Patti Labelle, Beyonce and Whitney Houston type soul. Half of this album steers toward that. I wanted the more pure and level delivery versus the screaming banshee wail delivery. I would recommend it for sure on the strenght of the 3 songs I mentioned. They will give you chills when you hear them.
on July 27, 2009
Admittedly reluctant to buy this CD, and an artist that was completely unknown to me prior to this purchase, I found myself completely "blown away" by this artist's beautiful, crystal clear voice. Her versions of Fields of Gold, Autumn Leaves, Songbird, and Over the Rainbow are expecially beautiful and the harmonies exquisite. The other tracks appeal to the stirrings of the soul, as in the spirituals of the African American
South. Every song has a strong message and a sense of awe overcomes the listener as you marvel at this extemely talented and diverse songstress who unfortunatly was taken away from this world, much, much too soon.
on February 25, 2002
As you read through these customer reviews, you're probably asking yourself how can so many customers feel so strongly about a female singer that few have ever heard? I know I was skeptical. I listened to the song samples on Amazon.com and was impressed enough to buy Songbird. From the first moment I listened to it, Eva brought tears to my eyes. This same reaction happens often now when I listen to her. Her voice is supremely beautiful and expressive and her ability to excel in all types of music is unequalled. For example, on "Time after Time", a later CD, she gives us in order: 1) a pop classic that surpasses the original, 2) a melodic country song with fiddle and approprate vocal twill, 3) a beautiful, finger-picking folk song, 4) a gutsy blues song, 5) a deeply soulful R&B song, and6) a traditional gospel song. ALL ARE ABSOLUTELY OUTSTANDING !!!
As a life-long music fan, I can't understand why "the industry" did not bring Eva Cassidy to the public long before her untimely death in 1996. What a shame that Eva never lived to experience the growing love and devotion felt by so many as they first experience her singing. Yes, it is true. We are truly moved by Eva Cassidy's songs and we want to share our feelings.
I love Eva's voice and the sincerity of emotion beneath the surface of its beauty. I believe she will always bring tears to my eyes.
on May 31, 2004
I didn't buy this, originally, because I thought it maudlin to reissue Eva's songs after her death...newly discovered material yes, but why songs she had already released? Boy, was I ever wrong!
After wearing out two discs of "Live at Blues Alley", I went back in time to purchase "The Other Side" -- a jazz/blues/funk collaboration between the incredible Eva Cassidy and the funky Chuck Brown. Most fans of Eva have gone back to Blues Alley, where she originated "Autumn Leaves" and "Fields of Gold" -- two of the best tracks on "Songbird"; on Songbird, the audience appreciation has been eliminated, giving a welcome second listen to two songs that Eva makes her own (sorry, Sting). "The Other Side" contains her original version of the classic, "Over the Rainbow". Has there ever been an interpretation of an old classic that has touched people in the way that Eva touches you with "Over the Rainbow"? I think not.
With Brown, Eva gets down and funky, and the true jazz leanings of her voice really stand out. Catch her rendition of "Fever", and you'll forget the original.
But, I digress, on to "Songbird". I resisted its pull because of the way it was put together, simply collecting many songs that Eva had released while she was alive. But I've changed my mind and now purchase this CD for anyone who will listen -- there is a quality and a magic to this collection that transcends definition. Forget the tragic circumstances of Eva's death, and just celebrate her life with "Songbird", where her voice and eclectic mix of songs and arrangements transcend the Norah Jones', the Diana Krall's, and yes, even the Emmylou Harris' of the world.
In addition to the incredible versions of the three standards mentioned above, Eva gives you 7 other songs, done exquisitely. From her gospel voice on "Wade on the Water", the old standards "Oh, I Had a Golden Thread" and "Wayfaring Stranger", done as only she could do them; from the title track of "Songbird", where she stretches over and beyond original artist Christine McVie; Eva takes you home on perhaps the CD's most enchanting piece, "I Know You By Heart". In this, which may have been a signature song, had she lived, Eva shows you all that an artist can add to a beautiful song -- with tone, timbre and feeling, she will make this song, and this CD come alive for you.
With 498 reviews prior to mine, a rating of 4 stars, and being in the top 100 on Amazon this many years after release, you can bet that "Songbird" is the kind of a classic that everyone should own. Enjoy it, over and over.
on May 12, 2004
I listen to almost any genre of music and appreciate it for its own unique worth, but never have I heard anything that so pierced all of my being and brought out all the emotions that were within. Eva's voice is so beautifully pure, so strikingly clear, that you wonder why she was never appreciated as much as she should have been. You can listen to this album over and over trying to find a single flaw and you will fail. It is the perfect listen, and if you truly appreciate a great voice you will never get tired of this. Reading these reviews you will see hundreds of fans of "Fields of Gold," and I love that song as well, but the rest of the tracks are just as wonderful. Her cover of Curtis Mayfield's "People Get Ready" is my personal favorite, as her jazzy numbers rival her ballads for beauty and effect. "Wade in the Water" is quite possibly the best gospel recording I have ever had the pleasure of hearing, sung with such passion and intensity. She shows out her jaw-dropping range on "Time is a Healer" and the absolutely breathtaking close to "Wayfaring Stranger." Then you have classics like "Oh Had I a Golden Thread" and "Songbird," I mean, what more can you really say? Everyone should hear this CD, I am just 20 years old and I have forced any friend that has ever ridden in my car to listen to this CD and they all love it. Not a one has left without asking again who that woman was. This is an album for the ages. It is a shame that we did not get to appreciate her while she was here, but there was someone else that wasn't appreciated for His worth when he was here in His short life, and He is who Eva is with today.
on March 24, 2004
Although I've lived in Washington, DC for many, many years, I never got around to seeing this amazing talent before her death from cancer in 1996 at the tender age of 33. Listening to this set of songs, which includes some AMAZING songs and particularly interpretations of a few very well known songs, makes me think of how successful Eva would have been had she had more time with us.
The CD starts out with a heartfelt and oh so clear version of Sting's "Fields of Gold" that does not deviate much from the original but her honesty makes the song even more evocative. Next comes "Wade In The Water", which brings out her bluesy side with a slight touch of Dusty Spingfield circa her "Dusty in Memphis" period. The horns bring the song home. "Autumn Leaves" showcases her jazzy chops. Her rich and clear voice makes this song so soothing. "Wayfaring Stranger" is the only song that does not stand out from the rest.
Her interpretation of "Songbird" starts out exactly likes Christine McVie's version, but it immediately takes off into something magical which not only makes the song her own but it may become THE definitive version. It is so beautiful and so sounds so vital, but like the song it's a little bittersweet to hear Eva and think that she did not have more time to continue growing and entertaining. "Time Is A Healer" is a great choice to follow "Songbird" as it has a gospel vibe and makes the bittersweet less bitter. "I Know You By Heart" has a little Enya feels to it, but yet again it's all Eva. At first listen I was not enamored of her take on "People Get Ready", but she won me over is the song as a whole has a strong undercurrent of strength in what first feels a little tepid. Eva is anything but tepid. "Oh, I Had A Golden Thread" starts off slowly and builds into the song that best showcases a limitless range. The release closes with what can only be called a stunning version of "Over The Rainbow" which, like "Songbird", starts out very close to the original and then makes it her own with a restraint that is as strong as the biggest wail and an accompaniment that is signature Eva and in fact has Eva singing and playing all the parts.
In this release Eva proves that she can sings pop, blues, jazz, gospel, and standards with equal grace and honesty. I can think of few artists who manage to showcase such a variety of genres and it never feels false. Not to take anything away from the talented Norah Jones, but if Eva were alive today there is no doubt in my mind that she would be embraced by an equal or greater number of people as Eva's voice and ability to interpret a song may be second to none. Some have complained that the production values are not state of the art and there is no question that said is the case, BUT I'd rather have this any day versus overproduced releases that tend to whitewash much of the humanity of great performers. This is not a perfect release but listeners and reviewers should keep in mind that many of these songs are sung "live" and in many ways respects represents simply a document of songs that she loved and would have rerecorded had she lived long enough to get money from one of the labels to work with state of the art production values. She still EASILY earns my 5 star review and the wish that she is as at peace as I feel when I listen to her sing. God bless.
on January 30, 2004
If you are an Eva fan, no need to read on. If you're on the fence about buying an Eva CD, then just do it. I'm pleased that Eva is finally getting "famous." But it's more than that. Eva possessed a VOICE FROM THE GODS and in an odd way, perhaps her all-too-brief life was perhaps a message of sorts. In a short life and "career," Eva was able to softly warm your heart and soul, and was also able to belt one out. What an utterly wonderful soul she was -- and thank God that her songs will live on. I can't tell you all just how many times I feel so utterly alone, empty, demoralized by the rigors of urban life -- and to come home and put on Eva is like an IV drip of Prozac. So many nights - and days as well - Eva has pulled me from the "depths of despair" with her tunes.
I do believe that Eva Cassidy was put on this Earth to send us messages of love, hope, empathy for the sadness of life ... I feel like I'm talking to a shrink ... but I can only say that she was someone so very special and her gift was to reach us all. There are a few singers who have done this to me: Eva is the best. But others - Minnie Ripperton, Sandy Denny, Diana Krall -- to name a few -- have given me much happiness -- but Eva? Well, she's in a league of her own. In an odd way, I feel that she is a very good friend.
Sure, get this CD ... play it and you'll be back on ordering the entire catalog of her works.
And I have a 5-CD carousel ... I fill it up with Eva and put it on random play. Soon I discover that two hours have passed and I'm in a very special and peaceful place.
Yup, I'm just a nutcase wanting the world to know how much this woman has and can lift the souls of the lonely out there. She makes me happy. I like happy.
Enjoy the peace, love and happiness Eva Cassidy can bring into your life.
on December 16, 2003
Until the Winter Olympics in which Michele Kwan skated to Eva's "Fields of Gold", I had never heard or heard of Eva Cassidy. Michele's performance that night was remarkable, but I was drawn immediately to the music. I knew the song but not the voice. All I could say was "who is singing that?" I was stunned by the purity, the phrasing, the eloquence. No one in my family knew who it was. A few minutes on the Net with just the song title and I found references to Eva. Within another few minutes I discovered she had already tragically left us at a very young age. I tried a few MP3 samples on the Net and instantly recognized Eva to be one of the greatest singers I had ever heard. I immediately went looking for every CD I could find of hers.
This particular CD is a compilation from other CDs. I have it and strongly recommend it, but I would recommend you buy the source CDs. All of them have numerous other fine tracks.
Listening to this woman sing is a transcendant experience. I can play "Fields of Gold" on the way to work and I am transported to a magical place, such that when the song ends and I transition back, I just have to play it again to experience the enveloping emotion of her voice.
I can't think of another singer that does this to me. I would put Karla Bonoff in somewhat close company with Eva, and a fair amount of Sarah McLachlin, but Eva has far greater range and vocal sophistication. She revitalizes old, old standards like "Autumn Leaves" and "Wonderful World" with renditions that should be considered definitive. There are so many examples where she takes complete possession of other people's songs that I think this puts her on a musical pedestal with essentially no peers.
Thanks to Michele Kwan for choosing Eva's music to skate to that night.