“Will you stay with me? Will you be my love?”
In a concert review, a singer was described as “an unclassifiable and inspiring musician,” someone who “could sing anything – folk, blues, pop, jazz, R&B, gospel, and make it sound like it was the only music that mattered.”
The “only music that mattered.” Indeed! This could very well be David Archuleta who the reviewer was describing, but it was Eva Cassidy, a singer who David has named several times as a major influence. Remember that awkward moment on the “The View” in June 2008? This popular daytime show was filmed in Las Vegas just before the 2008 AI Summer Tour began. Both David and David Cook were invited, and the ladies asked their guests what THEIR American Idols were. Who were the artists that they revered when they were growing up?
David answered, “Someone I really admired is Eva Cassidy.”
The name obviously drew a complete blank. David tried to explain. “Eva Cassidy. She’s substantive with her music and just very expressive, both lyrically and …” Nobody had a clue who he was talking about, and they cut him off, asking the same question of David Cook.
Eva Cassidy is described as a deeply though unconventionally spiritual person, and it was said that she viewed her talent as a gift and an obligation. She grew up in a musical family and became serious about music at age nine, practicing guitar and singing for hours a day. She was almost painfully shy, but warmed to performing when she saw the effect that her singing had on her audience. Eva Cassidy was perhaps on the brink of a wider career when she died at the early age of 33. While she never gained great fame or fortune, there are many who have been touched by her soulful voice and her intimate performances.
In his introduction to Fields of Gold, the first time he performed it in Salt Lake City on November 24, David said,
This next song is a rendition that one of my favorite artists did, and her name was Eva Cassidy. She taught me so much, just the sensitivity in the music and the emotion in the song. I first heard the song during the Utah Olympics. Michelle Kwan did a skate performance to it.
The Salt Lake Winter Olympics was held in 2002, when David was the tender age of eleven.
Fields of Gold was written by Sting and the original version is a warm and gentle love song. The embedding has been disabled, so here is the YouTube link:
Sting, Fields of Gold
Eva Cassidy, with her soulful voice and unique timbre, elevates this simple song to a heart-wrenching, soul-connection experience. It is often noted that David takes a song and makes it new. Eva Cassidy took this song and made it her own.
There are no videos of Eva singing Fields of Gold, but for a sense of Eva Cassidy as a performer, try this achingly tender live performance of Somewhere Over the Rainbow.
Eva Cassidy’s CD “Songbird” includes both Over the Rainbow and Fields of Gold and is maybe a good place to start to discover this artist.
If you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t seen David’s performance of Fields of Gold, enjoy this close-up version, courtesy of YouCanCallMeTina for the picture, SnarkyMawg for the audio, and Rascal for the mash-up (yes, he is still with us, and promises to weigh in soon).
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