I Can Only Be Me

Eva Cassidy With The London Symphony Orchestra

Blix Street, 2023


REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


Anyone who has read my reviews over the years knows that I love the late Eva Cassidy with a passion that borders on fanaticism.

We shall call this the Irresistible Force.

Anyone who read my review of Johnny Cash With the Royal Philharmonic knows that I think the concept of pairing up a deceased artist with a living music source can result in some severe dreck.

We shall call this the Immovable Object.

Happily, we have solved this quandary with the latest release from Eva Cassidy, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 I Can Only Be Me. Because they did it right.

How did they get it right? An arcane combination of emotion and technology. On the technological side, this CD was developed with the machine learning audio restoration technology developed by director Peter Jackson for his The Beatles: Get Back in 2021.This audio “surgery” takes a single mono track with voice and instrumentation—the same mono recording that most of Cassidy’s surviving work was recorded in—and digitally splits it into voice and instrumentation tracks, which can then be cleaned up and enhanced. So we have Cassidy’s isolated vocals brighter and lusher than we’ve ever heard them before, and even occasionally her acoustic guitar playing. Those tracks were then combined with the multitrack recordings of the orchestra and mixed into one whole dripping with clarity.

Emotion? These people seemed to genuinely care about Cassidy’s work. From recording the rhythm section of three tracks with a jazz outfit. Composer and arranger Christopher Willis wrote unique orchestral backing for each vocal track. Yes, some of these tracks have been released before—but none were released with the complexity, grace, and beauty of this recording. I’ve heard “Songbird” many, many times—but this version is to me now the definitive one.

The most startling thing about I Can Only Be Me for this reviewer was the sheer power unleashed by cleaning up Eva’s vocal tracks. I was left both stunned at the flexibility and soul of her performances, and deeply saddened that this is all we will ever get.

The Washington Post said it best: “The saddest part of the mostly heartwarming story of singer Eva Cassidy is that she had to die to get the renown she deserved.” Yet—through the miracle of technology—we’ve a better Eva than we’ve ever had.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2023 Duke Egbert and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Blix Street, and is used for informational purposes only.