City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Eva Cassidy - Songbird

By Mairi Anderson - Posted on 14 August 2007

Show details
Freemasons Hall
Hayley Clare (vocals); Michael McClintock (violin); Dung Nguyen (guitar); Rodrigo Aravena (double bass and electric bass); Adrian Violi (drums)

Hayley Clare's "Songbird" show is a tribute to the life and music of Eva Cassidy. Hayley is a young Australian singer who created the show in 2004 and it has been well received in Australia and the UK.

Hayley Clare as Eva Cassidy

Eva Cassidy was a brilliant song arranger with a wonderful voice full of texture and emotion. She re-framed fantastic songs into unusual but inspired arrangements which suited her own voice. Her musical influences were extremely varied and she sang folk, jazz, blues and gospel. This show reflects all these varied strands very well with something from each genre.

The story of Eva Cassidy's life and premature death is beautifully told through narrative and music by Hayley Clare. There is a good balance of the spoken word and song and the length of the show is just right at an hour.

Hayley Clare has a wonderful voice and her phrasing is perfect. She has an exceptional talent for delivering the songs exactly in the style of Eva Cassidy. The classics are all included in the show :- Fields of gold,Autumn leaves, Somewhere over the rainbow and the Songbird of the title. All are expertly performed and technically perfect.

Given the emotional intensity, passion and sensitivity of Eva Cassidy, I would have liked to see more emotion put into the music in this show. For me Hayley Clare failed to touch the heart and soul of the audience. I wasn't moved by her performance though I admired her skill and enjoyed the show.

I found Songbird rather cold and lacking in engagement with the audience. Hayley Clare and her quartet seemed to distance themselves from the audience and at times seemed rather pre-occupied with looking the part or being "cool". I didn't feel the mutual sharing of the love of an artist and their music which the best tribute shows achieve.

At times it was difficult to hear the lyrics and in some numbers the violin or piano drowned out Hayley Clare's voice. Sometimes this was due to poor sound quality and sometimes to rather heavy handed arrangements. In a small venue too much amplification becomes overpowering.

Songbird was well received by many people in the audience. Hayley Clare is to be congratulated for putting together a very informative tribute which showcases her wonderful voice. I think it will be enjoyed by many Eva Cassidy fans. For me it lacks emotion but that may reflect Hayley Clare's youth and life experiences. It is worth seeing but doesn't convey the depth of feeling so characteristic of the true "Songbird", Eva Cassidy. The form is there but the substance is somewhat lacking. © Mairi Anderson. 7 August 2007. First.published on

August 5-9, 13-16, 20-23, 27: 20.50 (1 hr) £11.50 (£10.50)
August 10-12, 17-19, 24-26: 20.50 (1 hr) £12.50 (£11.50)