When singer Eva Cassidy wandered into producer Chris Biondo's studio in Glenn Dale, Maryland to make extra money by singing on a band’s demo, she began an unprecedented journey that would lead to more than 12 million albums sold worldwide, largely posthumously. When she passed away in 1996 from melanoma at the age of 33, she left behind a small catalogue of recorded material that has been painstakingly curated into more than a dozen individual collections that showcase her extraordinarily versatile voice and her wide-ranging, but unerringly tasteful, sense of material.
To commemorate what would have been her 60th birthday (on February 2), Blix Street Records will release a landmark new album, which pairs Cassidy’s impeccable voice with the backing of the legendary London Symphony Orchestra. I CAN ONLY BE ME, the album’s title track, is a radical reworking of a little-known song by Eva Cassidy’s musical hero, Stevie Wonder, while the album’s eight other tracks receive their own special reimagining. The album arrives on February 3, 2023.
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. Cassidy's vocal parts were painstakingly restored and enhanced to reveal previously unheard levels of clarity and depth, resulting in an emotive, atmospheric album with lush arrangements created by award-winning composer/arranger Christopher Willis (Schmigadoon!, Veep, Death of Stalin, The Personal History of David Copperfield) accompanying now pristine vocals.
“Songbird,” the first track on the new album, will be released by Blix Street Records as a digital single today (November 17) and will be available from iTunes, Spotify and other digital outlets. The release will coincide with the song’s debut airing on BBC Radio2 in England. Back in 2001, it was the BBC playing Cassidy’s version of “Over the Rainbow” that introduced her to British audiences and ignited a media storm on both sides of the Atlantic.
Of the "Songbird" track, Christopher Willis commented: “The wonderful, resonant truth about this song is that Eva is the Songbird, singing naturally from the heart. No ego. The goal with the orchestral version was to complement her pure vocal essence with a simple, yet broader instrumental arrangement – a lush musical landscape with Eva's voice at the center.”