Top positive review
38 people found this helpful
Breathtaking...and then some!
on 29 August 2008
I was introduced to Eva Cassidy in the late 90s and have purchased every CD of her work released since then. This new release caught me by surprise, discovering it in Amazon's New Releases section on the very day it was released. Boy am I glad I didn't miss it! Despite Live At Blues Alley being one of my all-time Top 10 albums, this is in great danger of becoming my favourite Eva album to date.
It is certainly better produced than previous works (not over-produced) with the luxury of Eva's own backing vocals now being added into the mix, along with retrospectively recorded instrumental parts. The light and shade of the album, therefore, shows greater disparity than ever before. Eva's cover of Dolly Parton's Coat of Many Colours is sung in her trademark mellifluous style, which, rather than wrenching out your heart and dancing on it in stilletto heels as Dolly does, simply bathes you in the love felt by the singer for her mother's kindness. My Love is Like a Red Red Rose and A Bold Young Farmer are drawn from the folk tradition that Eva seemed to have flowing through her veins. Both interpretations are without doubt the best performances of those songs I have ever heard. Her cover of Walkin' After Midnight is so different to the versions I know well (Patsy Cline and The Cowboy Junkies) that it took me a while to recognise - she brings a depth to the song I had not heard before.
Saving the best for last, though, the inclusion of the self-penned Somewhere as the album's closer is a masterstroke. I hope it is a hint of more of Eva's own songs lurking away on a shelf and destined for a future release. Somewhere is up there with her versions of Over The Rainbow, Fields of Gold and What a Wonderful World as an absolute masterclass in vocal performance. She moves from subtle-without-being-boring (eat your heart out Katie Melua) to storming into your ears and demanding your attention, without her voice ever losing its shape, its depth or its warmth (are you listening Christina, Mariah and the rest of the Wailers?). It's softly gospelly layered backing vocals, from Eva's own multitracked voice alone, support her stunning lead to passionate, triumphant effect. Even if you're not a fan of Eva, this last track alone will have you converted in an instant. It's not often you hear a genius at work, but this is one of those rare occasions. Buy it and revel in the glory of one of the best tracks ever recorded.