Simply Eva is another collection of posthumous Eva Cassidy recordings, but with a twist: all but one of these performances was recorded with the artist accompanying herself solely, with an acoustic guitar -- either in Chris Biondo's studio or in front of club audiences between 1993-1996. Cassidy's devoted fan base has heard her perform the material before, but not in this way. Her live-in-studio readings of "Wayfaring Stranger," Christine McVie's "Songbird," Curtis Mayfield's "People Get Ready," and Paul Simon's "Kathy's Song" (this one with all verses present) resonate with even more intimacy -- if that is possible -- than the previously released "finished" versions. The reading of "Over the Rainbow" featured here is the one from the Blues Alley performance from the Rainbow video. While Cassidy's version of Sandy Denny's "Who Knows Where the Time Goes" doesn't top the songwriter's, it does shine brightly, as does her brief a cappella take on "I Know You by Heart." Another surprise is this reading of Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time," which showcases Cassidy's fingerpicking skills and canny sense of rhythm. If you're a fan, you need this; if you've been wondering what all the fuss is about, the naked intimacy of Simply Eva is among the most convincing arguments yet for her posthumous reputation.
AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek