When singer Eva Cassidy wandered into producer Chris Biondo's studio in Glenn Dale, Maryland to sing 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 catalog 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 celebrate 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 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 will be available digitally on March 3, 2023, with physical formats to arrive on April 7, 2023.
I Can Only Be Me by Eva Cassidy with the London Symphony Orchestra is a new work that employs the groundbreaking 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 and restored 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, was released by Blix Street Records as a digital single in November of 2022, followed in the first week of 2023 by Buffy Sainte-Marie's emotive tale of love and loss, "Tall Trees in Georgia."
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 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 catalog, 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 nightclub 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."
|2. Autumn Leaves - By Eva Cassidy, London Symphony Orchestra & William Ross|
|3. People Get Ready|
|4. Waly Waly|
|5. Time After Time|
|1. Tall Trees In Georgia|
|2. Ain't No Sunshine|
|3. You've Changed|
|4. I Can Only Be Me|