Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Eva by Heart
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Showing 1-10 of 109 reviews(5 star). Show all reviews
on September 2, 1998
"Eva By Heart" was released less than a year after Eva Cassidy's death. Other listeners have described Eva's once-in-a-lifetime voice in reviews here (see "Songbird"); I thought people might be interested in hearing a little background to this particular CD, which I learned about from local radio interviews when it was first released in the Washington DC area.
Its production was an remarkable labor of love by her producer, Chris Biondo, and the other musicians involved. You would never know to listen to the album, but some of the songs started out with only Eva's voice on tape, and the accompaniment was added in the studio later. For example, Eva's violinist brother recorded the fiddle parts to "I Know You By Heart" and "How Can I Keep From Singing" when he was home visiting Eva in the hospital. The big band musicians in "Blues in the Night" never met in person; they recorded their various parts in the recording studio at different times. The duet with Chuck Brown, "Need Your Love So Bad," sounds as seductive and responsive as can be, but in fact Chuck added his voice after Eva's death, and it took him months because every time he tried, he started to cry.
If all this sounds terribly phony and depressing, let me assure you that "Eva By Heart" is actually an uplifting experience, showcasing great songwriting and some of the best vocals you'll ever hear. "I Know You By Heart," the opening song, is a valentine for anyone who has ever loved and lost. Some of Eva's best singing is heard in the gospel numbers "Love Heals the Wound It Makes" and "How Can I Keep from Singing," and Eva's arrangement of the traditional Celtic song "Waly Waly" has a haunting beauty that is enhanced by the imaginative accompaniment of Lenny Williams.
The CD comes with an attractive booklet of photos and other artwork, and notes by Grammmy-winning critic Joel E. Siegel.
The collection "Songbird" has received considerable national attention, but this album has much to offer even if you already have some of the songs on the other CD.
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on March 6, 2000
Barbra Streisand? No. Mahalia Jackson? Uh-uh. Joan Baez? No way. Aretha Franklin? Nope. Bessie Smith? Billie Holiday? Sorry. Ella Fitzgerald?... that's a tough one.
I humbly submit that the greatest female voice of the pop, jazz, blues, gospel, soul/R&B and/or folk genres belongs to Eva Cassidy. Her range of expression, style and tone quality are second to none and must be heard to be believed.
"How Can I Keep From Singing?" and "Wade In The Water" showcase Eva's gospel talents. Her vocal talents produce a truly astounding gospel choir in "How Can I Keep from Singing?" along with lead vocals that will send chills down your spine.
"I Know You By Heart" is as poignant a ballad as you will ever hear. "Songbird" and "Nightbird" show you the absolute clarity of tone and purity of emotion that her voice had. "Waly Waly" lifts you above the clouds and takes you away to a most ethereal world.
But her best effort on this disk, in my opinion, is "Blues In The Night". WOW! The incredible power that she shows on this track will nail you to the wall. And her styling should be the textbook definition of "blues"- alternately smoldering and shouting, wailing, bending notes, sultry and seductive- the entire range of emotions in about 4 minutes. If there is a better recording of this tune anywhere, I have not heard it and I don't think I will in my lifetime.
The bottom line here is that this is music of the highest order- technically stunning, emotionally searing, every song made hers personally so you really feel the communication between performer and listener. She achieves the highest goal of a performer- making the listener feel what she is feeling on every song. Music does not get any better than this.
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on December 12, 1998
I first heard this record in a stereo store where the salesmen were using it to demonstrate thier equipment. The voice was truly haunting and the recording quality phenomenal.
Imagine my surprise when I looked at the cover and found that it was recorded by local Washington, D.C. hip-hop producer, Chris Biondo, in his home studio. Clearly a labor of love, this was the rarest of finds: a no-budget recording of a local "undiscovered" performer that overcomes the odds and delivers worldclass production and reveals one of the greatest voices of our time. And once you learn the tragic story of Eva's premature death of cancer, the music becomes all the more bittersweet for the realization of the enormity of what is lost to us.
But try to put that aside and listen to the entire range of emotions conveyed in this record. One of the many remarkable things about Eva Cassidy was her refusal to be pigeonholed into any one particular musical genre. For this album, Eva's eclectic song selections ranged from gospel and blues to folk and traditional; each delivered with a depth of feeling and vocal technique that is startling. Add to this Eva's unusual arrangements and Biondo's incredible studio technique and you'll find one of 1998's most satisfying performances. Give a copy to a friend.
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on October 17, 2000
What is there to say about Eva Cassidy? A lot, like how wonderful a person she was (by all accounts), and how tragic her death from cancer at such a young age (33) was. But, others (see Richard Harrington's Washington Post essay, "Echoes of a Voice Stilled Too Early") have said all that, so for now, let's just stick with her voice, and her recording, "Eva by Heart."
How about some adjectives to describe "Eva by Heart"? How about: haunting, gorgeous, inspirational, tear-jerking, powerful, tender, melodic, eclectic, amazing, astonishing, heartfelt, intelligent, poignant, original, awe-inspiring, brilliant. I guess that's enough for starters! And if you think I'm exaggerating, just listen to the CD, and decide for yourself.
Every song on this CD is excellent, but I have NEVER heard anything like the last song, "How Can I Keep From Singing?" Unbelievable! I think the first time I heard this song I was almost in shock - who IS this woman?!? What IS this music?!? Gospel? Folk? Blues? All of the above? Who cares! All I have to say is...WOW!!! The bottom line: if you haven't heard Eva Cassidy, you are really missing out on something. Specifically, one of the greatest voices ever.. And "Eva by Heart" is Eva's gift to us all. Thank you Eva Cassidy....for sharing your unique beauty - for a short time anyway - in this hard world.
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on August 29, 2000
I was visiting a friend a couple of years ago and she told me she had a copy of this woman singing "Over the Rainbow" and she wanted me to hear it. To be honest I was cynical,thinking "Oh God ANOTHER one..." but when I heard Eva's voice I really choked up - especially near the end when she hits this unexpectedly beautiful note. The dynamics of her voice, her range, and versitility is phenomenal! I have been a professional singer for 20 years,(and I am also totally obsessed with alot of different music) and if I thought I have ever moved anyone to a fraction of what Eva has I'd be happy. I immediately bought "Songbird" and later "Live at Blues Alley" and I will eventually buy all of her material. It's just so amazing and refreshing to think that even in this plastic MTV world a real, gutsy, raw, and genuine voice can touch so many so deeply even in death. I am not easily inspired but this woman has inspired me beyond belief. DEFINITELY get some Eva in your music collection!!!!
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on April 21, 2001
First heard this album in Olsson's Record store in Old Town Alexandria. Fell in love with Eva's voice immediately. "I Know You By Heart" is still my favorite of hers (original or cover), but "Songbird" and "Over The Rainbow" (found on other albums) are just as breathtaking. Just bought "Live At Blues Alley"--kicking myself that it took this long to get another of her CDs. Sachmo would be proud of her interpretation of "What A Wonderful World"--gives me chills when I think how soon after she recorded this that Eva passed away. Introduced my parents to her over Easter--Mom went out and bought all her other CDs and started making tapes of them to introduce Eva to all her friends. Give her a listen--I promise you won't be sorry.
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on August 22, 1999
I purchased this cd only after reading the customer comments here. I have no regrets whatsoever. Radio is sorely lacking here in Michigan, because they should be playing Eva Cassidy songs! She has one of the most beautiful and versatile voices I've heard in a long time. It's sad that so many people out in the world have not been introduced to the voice of this angel. I don't think she is over-hyped at all, she's rightly hyped. Without all the hype I'd read here I would still be clueless as to her existence. I think it's time to purchase the rest of her cd's. It's too bad she won't be here to make more beautiful music. I really would have loved to hear an album of Christmas Hymns from her. She has a rare spirit that was so needed in my music collection.
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on June 13, 2000
The first time you hear Eva sing you will raise your head in surprise, your eyes will open just a little wider, and you'll look around to see if anyone else is observing your once-in-a-lifetime experience. But almost immediately your entire focus will move back to this remarkable voice that is like nothing you have ever heard before. You will either listen in awe or be moved to tears, because if you have a soul these are the only two possible reactions. And you will remember the circumstances of this musical experience, for this is a personal epiphany.
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on July 31, 2001
A TV show I saw only by chance gave me a brief introduction to Eva Cassidy. I heard her sing 'Over the Rainbow', a rendition surpassing Judy Garland's. I knew I had to hear more of this woman's stunning voice. Her choices of material to record are eclectic & exciting; the covers sound fresh with her voice & arrangements. Eva's voice is beautiful & strong no matter what genre of music she sings, & she sings it all. I listen to this cd almost every day & thoroughly enjoy it. That there will be no more music from this incredible musician/singer breaks my heart. BUY IT!
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VINE VOICEon September 29, 2005
I had heard of Eva Cassidy only recently and was saddened that she was no longer with us due to melanoma at an early age. What a sad and tragic loss!

This album, culled from other releases, is absolutely beautiful and shows the depth and breadth of her talent. My particular favorites are "I Know You by Heart," "Songbird," and "Wade in the Water." But make no mistake -- it is all terrific.

I am amazed that Eva Cassidy did not achieve more widespread celebrity in her lifetime. Perhaps that is a reflection on the music industry as a whole, which seems to be obsessed with "manufactured celebrities" rather than artists with genuine talent, grace, and inspiration.

I recommend this CD highly and look forward to listening to her other albums.
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