Heather Alexander,
(Sea Fire, 1994)

Those who followed the San Francisco Bay band Phoenyx might have been dismayed by the break-up of the band. However, these same fans have been delighted by Alexander's first solo album, Wanderlust.

This album, while not exactly the Celtic rock of Phoenyx, is a delightful, almost acoustical plethora of songs showcasing Alexander's talent with the guitar, bodhran, violin and mandolin. Alexander's first album focuses more on the traditional bardic songs that tell stories and sing of ages long ago, of heroes and heroines of long past ... or are they of long past?

In "Faerie Queen," Alexander takes the story of Tam Lin and gives it a bit of a twist, adding her own flair, and the amazing seven-minute song with an equally amazing fiddle solo made me want to take up my own instrument and play -- except that I haven't played in years and could only emulate a dying, screeching cat.

"Stolen Child" creates a own haunting version of the classic Yeats poem that pulls at the heart string and brings the simplicity of the poem to new heights.

In a touching tribute to Jim Henson, "Story Teller," Alexander sings of his storytelling abilities, mourning the loss of his contribution to the world, and how he has inspired her to go forth and become a storyteller herself.

Traditional Celtic music lovers will like Alexander's arrangement of "John Barleycorn," but will equally love her songs such as "Pour Your Brother" and "Stable Boy" that follow in that minstrel tradition.

What more glowing things can I say about this album? Not much without taking away from the delight that listeners should feel when hearing these tracks for the first time.

Song samples can be heard on Heather's website.

[ by Jade Falcon ]

Buy it from Amazon.com.