The beautiful Mirabelle Struck singing with me at Barbes on "Goodbye, My Voyager"

photo: Edward Price


On SATURDAY, JUNE 4 I will be hosting my first house concert at my new apartment in Park Slope (Brooklyn, NY).  The wonderful Michael Holt will perform at 8 pm. I will open for him at 7 pm. Come at 6 pm for a planting/snacking party in my garden. ALL AGES WELCOME! $5 - $10 suggested donation.

Address: 306 13th St., #1, btwn 5th Ave & 6th Ave.

I am currently performing "The Beacon" , the album dedicated to the memory of my mother, Jane Byers Bierhorst and produced by The Universal Thump (Greta Gerler Gold and Adam D. Gold). The songs form a suite that lends itself to a more theatrical approach than anything I've ever done. Many thanks to the wonderful Deidre Rodman Struck for accompanying me when she can. This has enabled me to simply sing and tell my stories without negotiating an instrument. So liberating!

Alan Haber, dj for Pure Pop Radio, has kindly added four songs from "The Beacon" to his current playlist. Click here for a review of the album.

ALL copies of "The Beacon" are accompanied by a hand-written note and a feather. Thanks again to all who donated feathers for this occasion - my mother loved birds and this is my way of spreading her love around. Please visit The Feather Project to see just a small sample of the feathers I have received.

I am currently booking house concerts - please contact me if you are interested in hosting me or know of a host I might want to contact myself.

Alice’s pretty songs and her tender, expressive vocals, which recall such titans as Laura Nyro, Joni Mitchell and Carole King, are wonderful constructs. Whether delivering a tender ballad (“Better Angels”) or an upbeat pop tune (“Airborne”), Alice is tops of the pops.”

Alan Haber, Pure Pop Radio


I have been giving a lot of thought to specificity in songwriting. I recently got feedback from a songwriting contest suggesting that I get "more specific" in my lyrics and shape my songs into more "understandable" narratives. I found this advice very intriguing and I have been attempting to write what I am dubbing "TWELVE SOLID SONGS", songs that are very specific and completely readable. I am making myself laugh while I write these tunes - a lot of the subject matter is silly and the details are so absurd - life is weird, isn't it?

On the other side of the scale, I have been thinking about why I am drawn to more impressionistic songwriting and I think it goes back to my early exposure to lieder, the art songs written by composers like Schubert and Debussy and Ravel and Richard Strauss and many others in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. As one of the contest judges noted in regard to my writing, "lyrics are not the same as poetry". That really stuck with me because I love poetry and the lyrics that I write are certainly indebted to it. But are my lyrics "too" poetic, and not substantial enough? I'm not sure - this is something I really want to explore and challenge myself on. More than anything, I want to communicate states of being and if greater specificity and "concrete-ness" help the listener relate to those states in my songs, that is all for the good. The work continues!

Goodbye, My Voyager 

This song was written as a send-off for my mother as she continues her infinite voyage. As we were rehearsing it, one of the band members, I can't recall who (pianist Barney McAll, bass player Jonathan Maron, and drummer Adam Gold) noted that it reminded them of the music of George Shearing of "Lullaby of Birdland" fame and I realized that I had always loved that song - it was the final track and only cover on my very first album, "Deranged", recorded when I was 14.

Co-producer Greta Gertler Gold had the inspiration to invite a child to sing with me on the chorus, adding a haunting and poignant layer. The child turned out to be the amazingly prepossessed and talented Mirabelle Struck, daughter of brilliant pianist Deidre Rodman Struck. Thank you, Greta and Mirabelle!

I Will Always Love You (When I'm Alone) 

This song was inspired by the movie "Brokeback Mountain". Based on a short story by Annie Proulx, the movie depicted the consequences of forbidden gay love in a small western town in what I remember as the 1950's. The song is universal, and for the many years that I've played it (it was written in 2005), it has always resonated with people. I recorded it in 2007 on "The Vigil" with Greta Gertler Gold on piano and backing vocals. While I loved that recording, I was not completely satisfied with my vocal performance and when the opportunity came up to work with Greta in a larger capacity, I suggested we re-record it. Shortly before I heard the finished arrangements, Greta asked me if I was open to making it into a duet with a male vocalist. I agreed and was very pleased to discover she had chosen Rod Alonzo, an old friend who is a very fine songwriter. I feel his contribution really makes the song.

Tell Me Where 

"Tell Me Where" was written for Ben and Lilly Gallina's wedding, the summer after my mom died. I wanted something that expressed longing and had been learning "Before the Parade Passes By", the wonderful song from "Hello, Dolly" composed by Jerry Herman. A second influence was the intro to "Let It Go" by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Richard Lopez from the Disney movie, "Frozen", with its minor to major inflection. And now that I step back, the song clearly owes a debt to "Over the Rainbow" by Harold Arlen (music) and Yip Harburg (lyrics)! This song was originally completely in C major/A minor and two nights before the wedding, as I drifted off to sleep I suddenly realized I HAD to begin the song in moody C minor and then open it up in the chorus to C major/A minor and modulate again to joyous Ab major in the bridge. The next morning I tore the song open and worked through it with the new road map and wrote it right down to the wire. Here's to you, Ben and Lilly!

Better Angels 

This song pre-dates my mother's death - it is one of two songs on the album that was previously released on "All Shall Be Revealed", a live-in-the-studio album I made in 2012. When I gave the album to Greta, she flagged "Better Angels" as a favorite and said she'd love to try her hand at producing it with "the works", strings and her usual sumptuous approach. Intrigued, I filed that idea away until the summer after mom's death when I suddenly realized I HAD to have Greta make this new album with me and include "Better Angels" and "Airborne", also on "All Shall Be Revealed". Thank god I did because I believe it is one of the standout tracks on "The Beacon". Thank you again, Greta Gertler Gold!

Not Like the Movies... 

When I was going through a hard time, I called my magical friend Sandy Bell, one of the most beautiful and talented people I have been privileged to know in my life. I was sad and confused and she said, "It's not like the movies, babe", and I felt a song come in. Over many months I worked on this piece, gathering in some of the flavor of the music my mother loved most, opera. While it is far from opera and more akin to musicals, I could have never made the leap without my mother's presence encouraging me. As I wrote, I sensed she was opening a door for me to pursue this kind of theatrical songwriting. I owe a great debt to Stephen Sondheim - my parents took me to see a production of "A Little Night Music" when I was ten or so and it haunts me to this day. Thanks to Greta and Adam for their stupendous arrangement and the work of all the choristers and instrumentalists.

Our Work is Never Done 

I had hoped that by 47 I would know more, but it appears that the ocean of things I DON'T know reveals itself to be far larger than I ever imagined with each passing year. The song "Our Work is Never Done" came about as my mother was dying. I saw that there was no end to the learning in this life and the song helped me make some peace with that. I want to acknowledge my debt to Rebecca Martin, a great singer and songwriter who showed me an unfinished song years ago with a very similar title. Perhaps it was "Her Work is Never Done" - I forget now, but when my song was completed I felt an echo of Rebecca in it and couldn't place it right away. Talking with her, she jogged my memory and I had a guilty moment, and then I realized it's all one song, every song is born out of others and as she didn't seem disturbed and the songs are very different in other ways, I want to acknowledge and celebrate the wisdom of her gift to me and how it became woven into the lead track on "The Beacon". Thank you, Rebecca.

Mom and Ellen 

When my mom died, she "gave" me many of the songs that are on "The Beacon", including the framework for "Forever You Go", the seventh track on the album. The song languished for months - I had the hook, which in its original incarnation was "WHEREVER You Go", a far more generic title, and some of the lyrics and a half-formed bridge but I couldn't crack the code on it after months of trying so I put it aside.

That fall, my beautiful former sister-in-law Ellen died unexpectedly. I put a picture of her on my fridge and one evening as I passed by, she "looked" at me and told me what to do. I ran downstairs to the piano and followed her instructions to the letter. The song was re-christened "Forever You Go" and the remaining lyrics and bridge melody were magically supplied.

In this way, I feel this song was a collaboration among the three of us. Thanks, mom and Ellen...

Back on-line... 

Today is my first day "back" on the Internet after a couple years of working quietly in my studio, writing songs, preparing them for "The Beacon" and reflecting on a very rich and mysterious time in my life since the death of my mother in the spring of 2014. Things have changed a lot since then and I have done some serious searching and find that there is no end to the work of living.

My mother, Jane Byers Bierhorst, was a deep reservoir of wisdom in my life. She was tough, uncompromising, tender, funny, unafraid of her emotions, a brilliant graphic designer, a killer cook, magical gardener, and lover of my father for 50 years. She died as she lived, "economically" (as my Dad noted) and completely on her own terms, in her sunny back livingroom with my Dad near her side. She never gave up on me, always encouraged me to continue with music even when I felt desperate for a "normal" life and considered running away from my calling to get a "real" job. Thank god she practically shouted at me when I was in one of those moods - her impatience with the very idea of abandoning music would snap me right out of it and help me recommit to my life's work.

Today I am writing from my new apartment in what the folks around here call South Slope. My beautiful son is advising me, much like mom used to do - don't give up, keep going, get on YouTube. It's very refreshing and touching to hear him encourage me at a time when I am sometimes quite vulnerable and taking new risks. My marriage has ended and I am finding I am much stronger than I ever knew and am so grateful to my new basement studio where I can work as long as I like and return to the way I felt when I was ten and so sure about who I was. In an unexpected way, having my life turned upside down has been very rejuvenating. I truly feel like a kid again finally left alone with my muse.
The Beacon: CD

The Beacon: CD

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A lavishly packaged orchestral pop album. Each individual copy is signed with a personal note from me and a feather

Please help support "The Beacon" with a donation. I believe any amount over $2 works.



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Alice Bierhorst and Michael Holt

house concert - Alice's home, Brooklyn, NY

Please come join me at my home studio for a house concert with Michael Holt from Toronto and myself. Please contact me for directions.