Eva Cassidy has achieved worldwide acclaim as a peerless interpreter of tunes ranging from Sting's "Fields of Gold" to standards such as "Over the Rainbow" (both of which appear on the 1998 release Songbird). Sadly, Eva Cassidy passed away on November 2, 1996, following a battle with cancer. She was only 33 years old. Her pristine singing voice and choice of songs add poignancy to her recordings that admittedly make her music more effective. But even if she had lived, her ability to make even the most familiar songs fresh through the sheer power of her voice would still earn her the well-deserved praise that, sadly, she never lived to see.
Ironically, Eva Cassidy never intended to be a professional singer. Working as a landscaper by day and living in Bowie, MD, just outside of Washington, DC, she was eventually coaxed into performing and eventually began making her way through D.C.-area clubs; the 1996 album Live at Blues Alley is an effective introduction to her live work. Hooking up with producer Chris Biondo in his Maryland studio, and incorporating a range of styles with roots in folk, jazz, gospel, and blues, she recorded material ranging from the traditional "Oh, I Had a Golden Thread" to the Christine McVie-penned "Songbird"; much of this material was eventually released on posthumous collections such as Eva By Heart.
The 2000 release Time After Time is a collection of 12 previously unreleased Eva Cassidy performances; primarily studio recordings, Time After Time also includes four live tracks. This album continues the tradition set by previous Eva Cassidy releases: a mix of traditional favorites such as "I Wandered by a Brookside" and more contemporary songs like the title track, a remake of the 1984 Cyndi Lauper hit. Eva Cassidy was quite capable of handling up-tempo material, as Time After Time's version of the Box Tops hit "The Letter" proves. It is the slower material, however, that is ultimately more affecting; "Woodstock" (written by Joni Mitchell) and "Kathy's Song" (Paul Simon) are brilliant examples of Eva Cassidy's interpretive skills and are easily the album's best tracks.
Calling Eva Cassidy one of the best singers who ever lived could easily be considered an overstatement. But to her dedicated fans, Eva Cassidy is worthy of such praise. Time After Time is a solid collection from an amazingly gifted singer who died too soon.