If my personal soundtrack was composed by one person, it would be Heather Alexander. She is one of the few whose music I’ve listened to regularly for the longest period of time and whose albums I have (just about) all of. With so many projects going at once, it was hard to keep up at times, but I’m filling in the gaps. One of the things that makes it (too) easy to want every album is that they aren’t full of repetitive content and are themed, suiting to any mood or taste. Among her dozen (or so) solo albums are English folk songs, rowdy jigs and reels, gypsy tunes, Mideastern tones, sea shanties, filk, and songs for children of all ages. Along with that is the music from her Celtic rock bands (Phoenyx -it blew up- and Uffington Horse), soundtracks to fantasy books, and other group projects. “The Bard” (so dubbed by many) entertained for hours with bodhran, fiddle, guitar, vocal chords, storytelling, and jokes. Kept at home, were the plethora of other instruments heard on albums, which can be purchased or sampled at CD Baby.
The Bard was a major musical influence. After years of not, I was inspired to make my own music, learn how to play new instruments, and relearn how to read music. I fell in love with the bodhran the first time I saw one live (not played by Heather) and have been learning and picking up tips from some incredible players through the years. Several years ago, after a comment from Heather, I dealt with my stage fright and joined in on a jam session with a bodhran. Although I prefer being backstage, I’ve gotten better about performing in public and am now biting at the bit for the next opportunity to jam, a chance I very rarely get.
I’d been wanting to profile Heather since starting this blog, but felt the need to let my thoughts and words percolate for several months. One reason being that she retired a couple years ago. Another is that the legacy of music continues through a new voice and energy. Despite some misconceptions, Alexander James Adams is not just some guy riding on Heather’s coattails nor is he her son or brother. Far from either and rightfully dubbed the Heir, Alec has all the credentials to carry on the magic. Classic songs are just as seductive and energy-raising as ever, given new depth, and, in some ways, better suit his voice. A mutual acquaintance and I were recently commenting on how moving and effective the Bard and Heir are and that even after hearing songs numerous times we still tear up. I told her that she may want some tissue handy for Alec’s latest album in which “her song” is showcased.
Since a friend first introduced me to the music of the Heatherlands 11 years ago, I have laughed, cried, jigged, and treasured countless memories. Unexpectedly, I found comfort and answers in the music when naught else could do so and more than a lifetime of song. I found courage and inner strength in the words and smiles from someone whose path parallels mine. It’s been fun and quite the ride seeing/hearing the fiery redhead grow and I look forward to continuing to do so with the faerie tale minstrel. The Bard and Heir have my blessing, love, respect, and coin.
“Touch magic, pass it on.” ~Charles de Lint