Alexander James Adams (born November 8, 1962) 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, bodhrán, and fiddle playing. He has also been a popular and influential artist in the field of filk music.
Adams performed as Heather Alexander for 25 years before beginning to tour as Alexander James Adams.
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 co-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."
2007 - present:
In early 2007 Adams transitioned to male 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.A Familiar Promise, released in July 2008, also includes duets between both voices.
Literary collaborations and references:
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.
In a similar vein, the 2006 album Merlin's Descendants is based on the fiction of Irene Radford.
S.M. Stirling quotes Alexander's song lyrics in his Island in the Sea of Time trilogy. His Emberverse series features a red-haired musician who plays guitar, fiddle, and bodhran named Juniper Mackenzie. Alexander's song lyrics are used as Mackenzie's songs in the book. (Juniper and heather are both plants.)
John Ringo quotes Alexander's song March of Cambreadth in his Council Wars series (for the Centurions' battle song) as well as in the Paladin of Shadows series.March of Cambreadth and Black Unicorn are also quoted in the Looking Glass series.
Mike Shepard used the song March of Cambreadth in his book Defiant. Defiant also has a character named Heather Alexander.
Several of his 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