Michael Bolton with Eva Cassidy — “Fields of Gold”
(from Gems: The Duets Collection) — Fields of Gold (feat. Eva Cassidy) - Gems: The Duets Collection

I normally wouldn’t advocate this type of thing: let’s face it, Miss Eva’s original performance of “Gold” is so profoundly spot-on that even Sting — himself no slouch when it comes to crafting a memorable vocal — freely admits that she stole the song right out from under him, and there could be no sensible reason to try to improve upon that sort of pristine perfection. But in the oddest way, this kinda sorta works and works brilliantly: Bolton now seems (and sounds) a lifetime removed from the days when his tremendous tenor was capable of operatic, ceiling-shattering high notes, but his wearier, more weathered instrument suits him quite nicely on his new album, and especially here, where he is exceedingly careful not to try to upstage Eva — and seriously, who in blue hell could? — but rather, just like Natalie Cole duetting with her late father a generation ago, sidles in beside Cassidy to humbly offer her a quietly thrilling (if gruffly charged), oddly compelling counterpoint.

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