Alexander James Adams is an American singer, musician and songwriter in the Celtic and World music genres. He blends mythical, fantasy, and traditional themes in performances, switching between instrumental fiddle and songs accompanied by guitar, bodhran, and fiddle playing. He has also been a popular and influential artist in the field of filk music.
The last public performance as Heather was at OryCon 2006. His debut as Alexander James Adams was at Seattle's Norwescon 30, on 6 April 2007.
Mid 1980s - 2006
A native of California, Heather Alexander began performing original music in the mid-eighties for friends, Renaissance fairs, and Science fiction conventions. Off Centaur Publications was recording performances at one convention and asked to include Alexander. This began an association where Alexander recorded for Off Centaur and later Firebird Arts and Music, primarily work for hire.
In the late 1980s Alexander founded the Celtic fusion rock band Phoenyx, which released one album, Keepers of the Flame; the band disbanded in 1991 after achieving a high degree of local fame, and that album is no longer in print.
Alexander returned to a solo career. Firebird Arts & Music produced a live album which did well enough to inspire Alexander to create a label (Sea Fire Productions, Inc.) for the release Wanderlust 1994. Two live concert albums and several studio albums have followed. Alexander also moved to the Pacific Northwest, settling in Banks, Oregon in 2002.
In 2001, Alexander founded a new band, Uffington Horse, together with Andrew Hare and Dan Ochipinti and continued to perform solo gigs between band appearances. In 2004, a limited run of the Uffington Horse promotional CD was offered to fans to help finance recording their first studio album, Enchantment, published in 2004. In 2002, Heather Alexander told Strange Horizons that "I tend to think of myself as a "musical entertainer." I sing, play, compose, and tell stories." The band performed at numerous science fiction and Furry conventions, such as OryCon, Norwescon, Further Confusion (2004 and 2005), Eurofurence (2005 and 2006), and CascadiaCon (2005). Alexander was Music Guest of Honor at FenCon in 2006.
2007 - present
In early 2007 Adams transitioned gender and since April 2007 has performed in many of the venues that he had formerly played as Heather Alexander. He has played with Uffington Horse and has also formed a new band, Tricky Pixie, with S.J. Tucker and Betsy Tinney. In summer 2007, the band released a recording of their first concert, Live!, which is the earliest released recording of Adams' voice.
Adams' first post-transition solo album, Cat & The Fiddle, was entirely instrumental. Balance of Nature, released in fall 2007, mixed a few of his older works (such as Creature of the Wood) with new songs.
In November 2007, Adams released the Yule album Wintertide, featuring duets between both Adams' and Heather Alexander's voices. As noted in Adams' interview in Just Out, Wintertide is the first album with a series of these duets.
Several of the Firebird Arts and Music albums include collaborations with Mercedes Lackey and inspired by the works of Andre Norton. (See the discography below for more information.)
The 2002 album Insh'Allah was inspired by Steven Barnes's novel Lion's Blood. The songs and the book were written concurrently, and several of the songs are quoted in the book and its sequel.
Several of Alexander's songs were also used in S.M. Stirling's Emberverse series.
Several songs have been featured in the novels of John Ringo. An MP3 of March of Cambreadth was included on an accompanying CD and is available for download at the publisher's site.
S.M. Stirling quotes Adams' song lyrics in his Island in the Sea of Time trilogy. His Dies the Fire series features a red-haired musician who plays guitar, fiddle, and bodhran named "Juniper Mackenzie". Adams' song lyrics are used as "Mackenzie's" songs in the book. (Juniper and heather are both plants.)
Mike Shepard used the song March of Cambreadth in his book Defiant. Defiant also has a character named Heather Alexander.
Several of Adams' songs have been parodied, most notably March of Cambreadth.
He has received three Pegasus Awards:
- 1996: Best Performer
- 1996: Best Writer/Composer
- 2006: Best Battle Song, March of Cambreadth
- Keepers of the Flame, Phoenyx 1990 (Phoenyx and Sea Fire Productions, Inc.) Issued by the band in 1990. No longer in print.
- Uffington Horse Promotional Album, Uffington Horse, 2004 (Sea Fire Productions, Inc.) Created for promotional purposes; a limited run was offered to fans in 2004.
- Enchantment, Uffington Horse 2004 (Sea Fire Productions, Inc.) Uffington's studio album.
- Live!, 2007 Tricky Pixie. Contains songs written and performed by Alexander James Adams, S.J. Tucker and Betsy Tinney.
- Everafter February 2007 (Sea Fire Productions, Inc.) Recording of Heather Alexander's final public concert in November 2006 at Orycon. Alexander sang and played guitar, bodhran, and fiddle. Bonus materials include a few performances at a pub and an interview.
- Everafter booklet February 2007. A short faerie tale.
- The Heather Alexander Songbook was published in late 2007. It includes lyrics and music for the Sea Fire Productions albums from Wanderlust through Everafter.
This includes compilations and backing appearances for other artists.
- Thirteen, Vixy & Tony, 2008. Played fiddle and percussion on the track Apprentice.
- Gaia Circles, Gaia Consort, 2000. Played fiddle on most of the tracks.
- Firestorm: Songs of the Third World War, Leslie Fish. Sings on the track Better than Who.
- The Constellation, Hank Cramer, 2003.
- Roundworm, various artists, 2000. (Song parodies by Bob Kanefsky.) Sings December of Cambreadth, a parody of March of Cambreadth, and Something's Under The Bed, a parody of Up In The Loft.
- Faerie Queen (song)
- The Stolen Child
- filk music
- Radcon 5 draws sci-fi, fantasy fans to Pasco, Tri-City Herald, Feb 17, 2008. The article refers to "[t]ransgender Celtic performer Alexander James Adams", adding that "[t]he singer-songwriter toured across the U.S. and in England and Germany as Heather Alexander for 25 years before beginning to tour as Alexander, said Kore Adams, his partner."
- The Disappearance of Heather Alexander, Just Out, March 7, 2008, pp 24-25. Adams discusses his transition and career in this interview.
- Strange Horizons Interview, 29 July 2002
- For more information see the Heatherlands.com page on the album, including information from the album's press kit; Heatherlands.com FAQ; Mark Ungar's Discography; Cat Taylor Discography.
- Discography on the official website, www.heatherlands.com Cite error: Invalid
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- For more information see the Tricky Pixie website
- Irene Radford's site.
- Per the Midsummer page on the official website, www.heatherlands.com, and BAEN books site.
- This been commented on in reviews and convention programs.
- For more information see the archived product page.
- For more information, see the Uffington Horse website
- Official website, www.heatherlands.com
- Tricky Pixie Official website
- The Disappearance of Heather Alexander in Just Out, March 7, 2008, pp 24 & 25 (PDFs). Adams discusses his transition and career in this interview.
- Firebird Arts and Music
- Review of Life's Flame
- Strange Horizons Interview, 29 July 2002
- Strange Horizons Review of Insh'Allah, 29 July 2002
- Performance review, October 2002
- S.M. Stirling's website, including sample chapters of the Dies the Fire series.
- Irene Radford's site, featuring the Merlin's Descendants series.
- Last.fm page
- BAEN bio of Heather Alexander (BAEN publishes the John Ringo books that reference Heather Alexander)
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