We weren’t on a date. We were just two co-workers meeting at the movie theater. Never mind that he bought my ticket before I arrived. Never mind that he gave me the armrest. We weren’t on a date.
It was a weeknight and a late showing of In Good Company. We sat in the quiet, nearly empty theater, making conversation before the previews began.
“Who are your top five favorite singers?” Big D asked.
“Oh, wow. It’s hard to choose. Um . . . Pavarotti” I answered; counting on my thumb.
“Really. You like opera?”
“Well, I’m trained in operatic music. So, yeah. I got to see him in concert” I boasted.
“What was that like?”
“The acoustics sucked, and it was late in his career, so he wasn’t in his prime. But it was amazing” I answered. Then getting back to the game, I counted on my pointer finger, “Vince Gill.”
“He’s a great guitarist too” he said.
“Oh! Of course! Eva Cassidy” I remembered. Now the game was getting exciting.
“Eva Cassidy” I repeated.
He shook his head.
“Oh my gosh. You’ve never heard of her? I used to sing her stuff at gigs in Texas. My friend Paula introduced me to her music.”
“What kind of music does she sing?” Big D asked.
“Did sing. She died of cancer in her 30’s. Jazz, blues, folk, everything. She had trouble finding a label that would sign her, so her family was really responsible for getting her music out there after she passed away” I answered.
He seemed genuinely interested (but we weren’t on a date?), so I kept talking. “She had the most brilliant arrangements of ‘Fields of Gold’, ‘Autumn Leaves’ . . . her version of ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’ is the most beautiful I’ve ever heard. In fact, I didn’t perform that one very often because it just can’t be topped.”
“I’ve never heard of her before” he said.
I couldn’t tell for sure, but I thought I heard esteem in his voice. It was the first and last time I ever stumped Big D over a musician.
When I introduce people to Eva’s music, I have mixed feelings. I’m saddened that people still haven’t heard of her, but honored that I get to be the one to tell them. Eva is this songbird’s songbird.
– Anita, Noted in Nashville