[Monday’s Notes No.156] A beautiful love song, is there anything more classic? Perhaps only sung with a good guitar accompaniment, with simplicity. Such is the case with this performance by Eva Cassidy singing Fields of Gold, a song composed by Sting.
During her lifetime, Eva Cassidy’s career was mostly limited to the Washington area, where she was originally from. A singer and guitarist, she has played and sung the American repertoire, from jazz to pop. But it is precisely on the simplest songs that her vocality and sensitivity come to the fore, thanks to that slightly country and slightly bluesy colour that only an American artist can have.
Fields of Gold is a beautiful 1993 song by Sting. About a year after its release, Eva Cassidy recorded her own cover of the song. Just like any small-town singer who listens to the radio and decides to add a new song to her repertoire.
This cover of Eva Cassidy adds to Fields of Gold a depth that Sting himself had failed to give his song. In fact, Sting’s original version has an overly elaborate arrangement, which is not fitting for a simple song, a beautiful melody with a few chords. Here is the main verse of Fields of Gold.
Eva Cassidy sings Fields of Gold in the key of A Major. The song never shifts from the starting key and uses only five chords: A, Bm, D, E and F#m, which are respectively I II IV V and VI degrees of the scale. The [B] part of the song does not deviate from these chords either.
Fields Of Gold is a beautiful love song, the lyrics do not shine in originality but are tender, concise and emotional. A song like this does not need sophisticated solutions, just a guitar and a passionate, sincere voice. Eva Cassidy renders a superlative version thanks to the simplicity of her interpretation and the idea of also performing the introduction with her voice, whereas in the original it was instrumental instead.
Listening to Eva Cassidy singing this beautiful love song while accompanying herself on the guitar, one does not really feel the need for anything else. We can enjoy the pleasure of simple things, when they are done well. In fact, very well.
Eva Cassidy did not live long enough to become a star, killed at the age of thirty-three by melanoma. And who knows if she would have become a star after all, it is known that posthumous success is easier to achieve.
Eva Cassidy was just an honest professional, like many in America and the rest of the world. Her band was made up of ordinary musicians, who played covers for the audience in front of them, every night. Her interpretations of jazz standards may not be memorable, but when she sings simple, folksy songs like Fields of Gold, her voice shines with light and beauty.
With cruel and symmetrical simplicity, fate took her life from her and gave us her songs, to make us miss her. And perhaps to make us appreciate how beautiful is a song sung with passion and skill, with no other pretension than the pleasure of music.
Until next Monday