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While this website has become known for its in-depth album and concert reviews, the digest contains concise comments on new music our audience has either recommended or might enjoy. Click on album covers or label names for links to further information. Click on the title to view the article.

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American Tune CD Cover
Image Blix Street Records 2003 
 

(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 color!

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, so.

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 Digman

Read further reviews, listen to soundbites and order the album from amazon.com here.

 
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