(15 July 2003)
The crux of today's music--the selling point--is the unified
accepted practice on how to market the "voice ratio coalescence",
of any artist who is too diverse to fit into the standard
"everything sounds the same" scale of songs.
The usual answer is to not sign the artist. Or, with some marketing
persuasions (pressure) to somehow adjust the artist (the vocal
constants), thereby decreasing the musical CD ratio to a more
simplistic and easy to understand (and this is important), easy
to "sell" musical language - American Tune is not this, and
either was Eva Cassidy!
In words well worth repeating: "It was said that Eva could not
get a recording contract with a major label because her choice
of material [the vocal constants] was to varied, I found that
Eva's perceived weakness was in reality her strength." (From
the liner notes "Imagine" - Bill Straw, Blix Street Records).
Today Straw elucidates even further: "Eva let the cat out of
the bag ... and the majors have joined the party; exhibit 'A'
being Nora Jones. It's no coincidence that the major label
that broke Nora Jones--Capital/Blue Note--was
the same label that passed on Eva because she was too eclectic.
They lost Eva, went to school on Eva's success, and eventually
graduated with honors by breaking Nora Jones. The big winners
are music fans everywhere."
And American Tune is proof of all of the above!
"Be-singing" with "Drowning In A Sea Of Love" (Kenny Gamble
and Leon Huff), Cassidy evokes the meaning / definition of
true audio imagery. Giving to the listener not just the sound,
but the sight and feel of sound. It's a good song that only gets
better - "Better" because it is sung by a great voice.
"True Colors" (Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg) is a familiar
song to many, but has never until now been interpreted with
such audio/visual passion /perception, of total Eva vocalized
The title track "American Tune" (Paul Simon) is Cassidy at
maximum clarity, and is sung with the vocal-point convergence
of two distinctive parts - Eva's heart, and Eva's vocal s
oul. Listen to the words. "Yesterday" (Lennon and McCartney)
is a ballad of understated beauty. Powerful... but ever gently,
And the final track, "You Take My Breath Away" (Claire Hamill)
and Eva vocally does! Featuring members of the Eva Cassidy
Band: Keith Grimes (guitar), Raice McLeod (drums), Lenny Williams
(piano), Chris Biondo (for producer plays bass), with special
performances by Dan Cassidy (violin) and the multi-instrumentalist
(genius) of Marcy Marxer.
In conclusion, American Tune is soon to be an American
Classic. It is a listening study into the heart (art) of Cassidy
style vocal fusion. A successful union of ten-tracks formed into
a beautiful CD syncretism, of one great voice singing (meeting),
the diversity of songs. Eva Cassidy died in 1996.--Steven
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