Brand New From The Pantheon (not woodworking)

My pantheon of female singers has changed little over the decades.  Jennifer Warnes staked her position at the top of the heap almost forty years, which she has never relinquished.  Eva Cassidy joined her near the pinnacle perhaps 25 years ago when I first heard a CD that a friend loaned me.  She has the voice of an angel, and her stylistic instincts were nearly flawless.  Sting once remarked that after he heard her rendition of “Fields of Gold” he would cease to perform his own song.

While noodling through some videos on youtube over the weekend I noticed this brand new documentary about Eva’s performance at Blues Alley, the renowned Mordor jazz club.  It was thrilling, poignant, and heartbreaking all at once as within the year she cancer would kill her at the age of 33, the current age of our oldest daughter.  Heartbreaking.

Our Venn Diagram circles almost overlapped.  She was living only a few miles away from us just outside The Imperial City and performed often in places we knew and frequented, most notably the outdoor stage deep in the woods of the environmental foundation where Mrs. Barn worked for many years later on.  We even had a number of mutual acquaintances and friends.  But during the pinnacle of her output we were buried deep in the worlds of raising children, remodeling a house and building a career, so our social/musical ventures were few and far between.

The friend who loaned me the CD in the first place was a family member of the owner of Blues Alley, so the connections to Eva Cassidy were close to being one degree of separation.  Plus, Eva worked in a famed local plant nursery, and if you know nothing else about Mrs. Barn it is that she is a girl of the dirt through-and-through, and would have certainly patronized that nursery along with almost every other one within driving distance.  Could she have encountered Eva Cassidy during one of her trips there?   Who knows.

Nevertheless I never met Eva and only discovered her music after she had died.  As soon as I did I acquired all of her albums that were available.  I’m not someone enslaved by regrets, but doggone I coulda, shoulda, woulda gone to see her had I only known.