Monday, August 22, 2011

Eva – Tales From The Life Of Eva Cassidy

I had read that Clare Bowditch was doing a show about Eva Cassidy earlier this year, so when it hit the bigger stage of The Athenaeum, and Jessie mentioned a date, I was very keen to go. I love everything Clare does, and her involvement and enthusiasm had piqued my interest to know more about Eva.

After getting to see a Buddy and Cyril goal fest at the MCG, Jessie and I drove to pick up Marea, who had watched Heath play footy for the afternoon, before returning to the city. Rachael joined us at Stellini, a tucked away little treat in Little Collins Street, for dinner and wine. The meal was really lovely, and the Italian feel of this restaurant made for a great start to the night.

Taking our seats in the front row of the Circle, we were soon enthralled and enchanted by Clare telling us Tales From The life Of Eva Cassidy. A ‘song stylist’, as labelled by Eva’s mother, Cassidy was not a big selling star in her short 33 years, but found album success after her demise from Melanoma in 1996. Playing to mainly a local bookstore and a tiny crowd, Eva’s interpretation of a range of tracks have been more appreciated since her death.

Clare interspersed the songs of Eva’s with stories she had collected through talking with Chris Biondo, and other people close to Eva in life. With Ashley Naylor, and The Blues Alley Band supporting her on stage, Clare admitted that she usually doesn’t get to play the type of songs she would do this night, except for at a karaoke venue. Singing Time After Time and True Colours, Clare’s voice soared in this venue.

Naylor shared some of the storytelling, which so much of the time felt like we were in their lounge room and just chatting about this artist they had discovered. Clare told us many of her own stories, weaving them with the Eva story, with parallels about the struggles and challenges to conform to the music industry wishes. People Get Ready, Songbird, and Bridge Over Troubled Water were so lovely, and clearly had the Eva spin on the original.

Much of the press and early reviews of the show had featured Clare’s recount of her first discovery of Eva, which she retold, and then played the Sting cover Fields Of Gold. Not knowing Eva’s music, I overheard a woman near me comment that Clare was not trying to be Eva, but was singing the songs Eva brought to life.

The message in Clare’s show was the untapped talent that was Eva in life, and the potential in us all. She encouraged each person in the audience to appreciate one’s talents. Somewhere Over The Rainbow was the fitting end to the show, being Eva’s most celebrated and well known recording.

Having Clare share the life, story and songs she had discovered in her research of Eva from the stage in such an intimate feeling show was such a treat, and a tribute to Cassidy, but also a showcase that is the amazing talent of Bowditch.

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