Eva Cassidy

REVIEW: Eva Cassidy with the London Symphony Orchestra “I Can Only Be Me”


Eva Cassidy with the London Symphony Orchestra – I Can Only Be Me

This was a singer endorsed strongly by none other than Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac & Sting of the Police. Yet in essence, Eva never got out of the starting gate while alive. Her “fame” sadly came posthumously.

After she passed Eva’s music had amassed more than 12 million LPs worldwide. It makes me shudder to think what she may have accomplished had she lived. I fell in love with Eva from the moment I heard “I Know You By Heart,” & “What a Wonderful World.” (Not included on this CD).


Virtually unknown the Maryland-born Eva Cassidy (Feb 2, 1963-Nov. 2, 1996) was an effortless master of multiple musical genres. She performed & had a loyal following in the Washington, D.C. area. With her bright expressive soprano, the diversified singer with a varied repertoire was simply wonderful in everything she sang. Then she came to the attention of British audiences (both England & Ireland specifically) where her LPs miraculously charted. Then posthumous notice became a magnet. She had #1 LPs & audiences that grew in Germany, Australia, Norway, Sweden & Switzerland.

Eva’s recording career was problematic because her wide musical diversification came into conflict with the record company’s focus. But it was also her appeal. How to market an artist that sang everything from Judy Garland’s “Over the Rainbow,” to Billie Holiday’s “Fine & Mellow.” Finding an audience to embrace such an artistic jambalaya could prove difficult. But her music did find that elusive audience because she performed those songs so well.

This 9-cut landmark CD was originally created by Eva (vocals/acoustic guitar) & several producers. Parts were laid down in London & L.A. & the original tracks were restored. The London Symphony Orchestra sessions (all tracks) included conductors William Ross & Chris Egan. I Can Only Be Me (Drops March 3–Blix Street Records) is an exceptional set with classic Eva Cassidy covers, superbly interpreted & embellished with charm & finesse by the orchestra. Eva’s “You’ve Changed,” is almost what Ray Ellis did for the late Billie Holiday on “Lady In Satin.” It’s stunning.


Some may criticize that Eva wasn’t singing live with the orchestra. But an effort such as this isn’t for creating something false. It’s for giving an exceptional singer a forum her voice deserved. A chance for our ears, our ears — to appreciate her brilliance. Eva herself will not hear this. But she’d smile if she could.

Musicians – Lenny Williams (original piano), Raice McLeod (original drums), Christopher Willis (organ/piano), Andrew Synowiec (guitars), Nick Vincent (drums on 3 cuts) & Michael Valerio (acoustic/electric bass on 3 cuts).

Highlights – All 9 especially Christine McVie’s “Songbird & Buffy Sainte-Marie’s “Tall Trees In Georgia.”

B&W CD image: Matthew Dols. The 40-minute CD @ Amazon + https://evacassidy.org/ + https://www.evacassidyfanclub.nl/blog/2018/11/eva-cassidy-and-the-london-symphony-orchestra/

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