"Why cover a coverer?"

EvaCassidyWinter solstice. Six hours and two minutes of daylight today. We severly tested people who live in the Northern Hemisphere are by now tired and pallid and need something positive and uplifting to look forward to. But some of my fellow swedes actually increase the strain. This time last year I almost choked on my coffee when reading an advertise in the morning paper. A "Nashville country night" was presented as "The country event of the year". A swedish cover band including some unamed musicians from Nashville would play hits by Dolly Parton, Rascal Flatts, Johnny Cash, Dixie Chicks, Taylor Swift, Elvis among others. You can read my reflective article here (opens in a new window). Now the same swedes are back again tormenting us with a tribute to Eva Cassidy (b.1963–d.1996). For those who don't know who she was here's a short introduction. Eva Cassidy was an American vocalist and guitarist known for her interpretations of jazz, blues, folk, gospel, country, rock and pop classics. After her death she was object of a posthumous recognition, or should I say, posthumous explotation. The combination of untimely death and her undeniable vocal abilities was tapped to the breaking point by commercial interests. The driving force was her parents. Maybe this was a expression of misdirected remembrance or just plain greed. I don't know. What I do know is that one album was released before her death and and eleven albums were released after her death. Actually, I got two albums in the latter category, "Songbird" and "Time after Time". She could sing, I give her that, but the arrangements are quite boring and watered-down. She was a songbird, that's all. Eva Cassidy's version of Wayfaring Stranger is, by the way, the worst I ever heard. The iconization and mythmaking have over the years taken quite parodic forms. Several filmmakers have proposed films based on Cassidy's life, and have worked with her family, but to date these projects have not progressed in any film project. However, in 2007 a film company acquired the rights to produce a film. In an interview a year earlier, Cassidy's parents suggested Kirsten Dunst or Emily Watson as possible actresses who could play their daughter. I think you can draw your own conclusions from these suggestions. Even swedes like to get their (un)fair share. The text on the swedish advertise on the right means "A tribute to Eva Cassidy" and below "due to popular demand". Yeah right. The rainbow on the advertise is unlikely a HBTQ-statement, instead more likely it's a nod to "Over the Rainbow", a song Eva Cassidy covered. The scene of the crime for these repeat offenders is identical from last year. The venue Hotel Rival is placed in the central of Stockholm and owned by former ABBA-musician Benny Andersson. He's rich as a mountain goblin and doesn't need the revenues from this flogging-a-dead-horse evening to pay his bills. Since Benny Andersson isn't driven by money anymore the driving force must be his monumentally bad taste. However, the most absurd thing about this cover evening is that Eva Cassidy was a cover artist. When Caroline Larsson sings "Time after Time" doesn't she in fact cover Cyndi Lauper? And "Fields of Gold" - Sting, "People Get Ready" - Curtis Mayfield, "Woodstock" - Joni Mitchell and "Kathy's Song" - Paul Simon? Of course not, Caroline Larsson and her musicians are covering Eva Cassidy. I simply cannot understand how anybody would want to cover a cover artist unless it is to pretend that they are original songs. The world wants to be deceived, so let it be deceived. I have only one small request before my time is through. Please, please do not - I repeat - do not cover Wayfaring Stranger. It was a disaster then and it will be a disaster now. I haven't fully recovered yet from Eva Cassidy's "jazz" version of the traditional hymn.

 

 

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