Singer Eva Cassidy died in 1996 after a battle with cancer. And since then, Blix Street Records has released seven Cassidy CDs.

The cynic would say they are capitalizing on the deceased, but Cassidy's fans would say otherwise. They would say Cassidy has a plethora of music that needs to be heard. Her family gave consent to Blix Street to release Cassidy's music.

I am one of those fans.

Cassidy's passionate, heart-tugging delivery was a gift to those who knew and heard her.

The most recent Cassidy release, "Somewhere," hit the stores in August. And it doesn't disappoint.

The 12 tracks on the CD show her diversity, without losing her musical sense and vision.

Two of the songs, "Early One Morning" and "Somewhere," were co-written by Cassidy, which makes this CD the first to feature her own works.

She moves from the folk-singer introspectiveness on her take of Dolly Parton's "Coat of Many Colors," dives into the blues with James Cotton's "Ain't Doin' Too Bad" and then goes all soul on Aretha Franklin's "Chain of Fools' and "Won't Be Long."

Gershwin's "Summertime" and Roy Acuff's "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain" get the worthy Cassidy working as does Patsy Cline's "Walkin' After Midnight."

Now, some of these songs featured her previously existing vocals to new music arrangements, notably on the tracks "Ain't Doin' too Bad" and "Chain of Fools," but the music is purely Cassidy.

Last year, Cassidy's brother Dan gave Blix Street a recording of "If I Give My Heart," which features Eva on vocals and Dan on violin. The song was recorded in 1994, and makes it's public premiere on "Somewhere."

The two Cassidy co-pens are very poignant in their sound and story.

"Early One Morning" was recorded in 1987 with dobroist and co-writer Rob Cooper. A photo copy of Cassidy's handwritten lyrics are included in the liner notes.

"Somewhere" was a a raw recording, co-written by Cassidy's long-time producer Chris Biondo. Biondo eventually agreed to finish the sublime piano-jazz arrangement for this CD. And the song closes out this virtually perfect CD.


E-mail: scott@desnews.com