I CAN ONLY BE ME, the landmark new album, which pairs the late Eva Cassidy’s impeccable voice with the backing of the legendary London Symphony Orchestra, debuts this week at #1 on Billboard’s Classical Crossover chart. Released digitally worldwide on March 3 to celebrate what would have been Cassidy’s 60th birthday (February 2), this new release from Blix Street Records pairs the singer’s original vocals with lush arrangements created by award-winning composer/arranger Christopher Willis (Schmigadoon!, Veep, Death of Stalin, The Personal History of David Copperfield).
I CAN ONLY BE ME by Eva Cassidy with the London Symphony Orchestra is a new work that employs the groundbreaking machine learning audio restoration technology developed by filmmaker Peter Jackson for his 2021 The Beatles: Get Back film and used more recently for the re-issue of The Beatles classic album, REVOLVER. The process allows for splitting mono tracks into their separate vocal and instrumental parts. Hence, Cassidy's vocal parts were painstakingly separated, restored and enhanced to reveal previously unheard levels of clarity and depth.
The I CAN ONLY BE ME album was largely recorded in December of 2021 at LSO St. Lukes, the 18th century former Anglican London church that currently serves as the London Symphony Orchestra's home, conducted by Chris Egan. “Like everyone who listens to Eva's voice, I've felt like I've gotten to know her as I've worked on the album,” explains Christopher Willis. “It’s been a voyage of discovery for everyone involved. So many of Eva's existing recordings are admired for their simplicity. But as I went deeper into Eva’s life story and catalogue, I came to understand the extent to which she herself had experimented in the studio and had been looking for new ways to record her songs. The most important thing has always been to listen closely to what she's doing and respond authentically.”
Engineer Dan Weinberg, who handled the audio restoration, adds: “Eva’s original vocals are basic live recordings with limited audio data for restoration, so we used a multi-stage process of machine learning, with delicate, almost forensic, editing of sounds—from cymbal bleed to the crockery noise of people eating dinner a few feet away from Eva (at the Blues Alley Jazz Club in Washington, DC where many of Cassidy’s live performances were recorded). Many hours of rendering retained the quality and character of her performance, losing none of the magic.”
The media concurs. “Unforgettable, the “new” Eva Cassidy album, I Can Only Be Me, represents a kind of séance in song,” said The Independent. “Eva herself will not hear this. But she’d smile if she could,” wrote Americana Highways.
Perhaps her hometown paper, the Washington Post, summed it up best with “Eva Cassidy could have sung the phone book and brought you to tears.”
I CAN ONLY BE ME will be available in CD, deluxe CD and both 33rpm and 45rpm vinyl configurations. All album tracks are available in hi-res 48kHz/24bit stereo along with Dolby Atmos and Sony 360 immersive audio formats, a first for Eva Cassidy recordings.