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Video for "Goodbye, My Voyager"
Directed by David Doobinin
With Belle Doobinin and Dan Green

Video for "Not Like The Movies"
Directed by Greta Gertler Gold
Cinematography by Branden Poe

Welcome

My friend Mikael in Sweden has just let me know that my song, "Our Work Is Never Done" from "The Beacon", produced by The Universal Thump (Greta Gertler Gold and Adam D Gold), will be on a playlist that he is creating for the digital magazine "Motor" which is part of Sweden's version of Triple A. Cool! Thanks, Mikael!

I am so pleased to be releasing videos for songs for "The Beacon" now. This album was such a joy to make and after a couple of years of completely re-organizing my life I have a chance to celebrate it more fully.

I wrote "The Beacon" for my mom. She wasn't just my mom - she was an epic figure in my life, a force, an artist, a no-bullshit cheerleader for children, human rights, beauty, and me, lucky, lucky me. She turned me on to opera at a very young age, blasting "The Verdi Requiem" and taking me to the Met to see Pavarotti and Sutherland sing in Donizetti's "Daughter of the Regiment" which totally transfixed me and left me hungry for more, more, more. Because of her I explored lieder and musicals along with rock and punk and jazz and everything else I could get my hands on. My dad played piano and that made for a wonderful banquet in our house growing up - so much music, all the time.

After finishing the album, Greta said she had a great idea for a video for "Not Like the Movies" - I hemmed and hawed and was caught up in my personal life but then I suddenly pulled it together and said, "YES - let's do this!" and I'm so glad I did. I loved her script and the way she brought it to life with the excellent crew was mind-blowing. It was exhausting and cold and wet and exhilarating and I'm looking forward to making another one with her - she's a genius!

And then I saw David Doobinin's videos for my friend Chris Moore and a variety of his other clients and I just thought, "yeah, I love his vibe" and we jumped around my old backyard with his beautiful daughter Belle and the hilarious and handsome Dan Green and it was just such a blithe and ethereal time - I loved it and it really captured the kind of dreamy sentiment behind "Goodbye, My Voyager", a song written to send off my mom on the next leg of her infinite journey.

Moving on, my new album, "And The Ride Has Just Begun", produced by Jeff Lipstein, will be available this fall and I can't wait! This album is a full-on opus pulling together all my influences - lieder and Tin Pan Alley and seventies singer-songwriter and David Bowie's "Lodger"-era and Kate Bush and Stephen Sondheim and Emily Dickinson and who knows what else, my head explodes - a true cornucopia in a jewel box, sprawling and intimate, unabashedly passionate and somehow clocks in at just around 30 minutes - it packs a lot of life in!

Recorded primarily at Kenny Siegal's Old Soul Studio in Peekskill, New York, with a toasty fire going in the wood stove, I was blessed to be joined by bass virtuoso Rob Jost, woodwind maestro and arranger par excellence Peter Kiesewalter, the inimitable lyricism of guitarist Jason Crigler, the rock that is guitar legend Adam Levy, the otherworldly vocals and operatic arrangement thereof of Sandy Bell, and the many other amazing musicians who made beautiful contributions. You can hear the primitive demos I sent to Jeff at the onset of the project here.

Most of my back catalog is now available at bandcamp.

still from "Goodbye, My Voyager"

still from "Goodbye, My Voyager"

still from "Not Like The Movies"

still from "Not Like The Movies"

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

"In the world of music, sincerity is often overlooked. And that's too bad, because...at least for us...sincerity in music is one of the things that we're always searching for. If you have a similar desire, you may very well find yourself drawn to the impressively personal songs on The Beacon. Alice Bierhorst dedicated the album to the memory of her mother. In spinning these tracks, you can easily pick up on the personal references and the affection that Alice had for her mom. Interestingly, this album was produced by Greta Gold and Adam Gold of The Universal Thump (one of our favorite up-and-coming pop duos). Bierhorst is no newcomer to the world of music. She has recorded and released fourteen albums now (!), the first of which she created when she was only fourteen years old. All those years of work and experience have paid off, as Ms. Bierhorst is now thoroughly focused on her art. This album features ten tracks, all of which feature impeccable arrangements and lyrics that seem to come straight from the heart. Intelligent reflective tracks include "Our Work is Never Done," "Not Like The Movies," and "Goodbye, My Voyager."”

babysue

That said... 

...there is still a HUGE place for music in my life. Connecting with the Emily Dickinson-ness of things, the strange in-between-earth-and-sky places, the ephemeral and ethereal, the heavenly, the "more than I can say" places feels like my life's work. I feel lit up with it all, glowing in the dark...

Where to? 

I don't know, but it doesn't matter as much as it used to. Now I find I enjoy "the journey" much, much more and I like so many aspects of my life that it's hard to contain it all.

Satie 

I was just playing some Erik Satie for the piano - who knows what's up with his chord choices! They are so strange and surprising.

Today, According to Pooh 

I have a Post-It with the following quote from A.A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh: "What day is it?" asked Pooh. "It's today" squeaked Piglet. "My favorite day", said Pooh. I love that! That really sums it up. And today I've woken up with a good feeling about playing the piano - I have a new one - the old white one suddenly requested release from our arrangement - I woke up one morning and heard the call to let her move on. I resisted at first - I couldn't understand why, but I trusted the instruction and I went outside in my slippers and my neighbor, the musician and teacher Lily White, emerged from her house, and I asked her if she knew anyone who needed a piano and she pointed up the street and said, "That kid - he's coming here for a lesson - he just moved here and needs a piano". !!! So I invited 10 year old Max and his mom down into my basement studio and I gave him the piano - they carted it away a few days later. I cried and cried - I had written all of "And The Ride Has Just Begun" on that piano and most of "The Beacon". I had taught many kids on that piano and I couldn't understand why I had to let it go. But then I realized it was associated with my "old" life, before the divorce from my second husband, and I started to feel confident that it would be ok. I got out my guitar and started transposing some of the piano songs to that instrument and that gave me a little more confidence. And then I forgot about it. A little while later, as Todd and I were about to move into our new house, Todd said he saw a piano advertised at Big Reuse, the incredible all-kinds-of-junk-and-reclaimed-lumber place in Gowanus. I KNEW! I raced down there and played "Birdie" as I call her - she is a Kranich & Bach spinet from the 1930's I think - she INSISTS on strong playing - she has a big voice and a no-holds-barred disposition. Best of all, and what sold me completely, when I lifted the lid I saw a beautiful insignia of a golden crane - DONE! I bought her, and a wonderful woman with a team of strong-like-ox dudes moved her to our basement and now we are in love!!!

What Excites Me Now 

What excites me now is just being alive! And when I think about music, I think about playing piano in the center of a large clearing in a forest with foxes and other nighttime animals staring at me with yellow eyes at the edge of twilight. I really enjoy the freedom music gives me and the incredible connection with the cosmos.

These days, I feel like an AVA - an Audio Visual Artist. I like making recordings and I like making videos and I like being an artist, whatever that means - I guess it just means someone who likes to create as much stuff as they can out of their heap of life experiences and THAT is something we are all capable of.

Will I perform live again? I don't know. I am waiting to hear a call on that - so far, I have the occasional image of me singing at The Owl Music Parlor or Barbes and we shall see - anything is possible! I want to communicate, that's for sure, and I sure love using music as the medium.

 

 

Returning... 

I feel that I am returning to my music career after two years of complete transformation in my personal life. A chapter ended and a new one began and I wake up in a whole new place and it is very wonderful in every sense of the word. I think I know myself better now and realize how important it is to stay in touch with who I am, whoever that may be in the moment.

I am excited to "get out there" again - I believe it is possible now for me to have a healthy work/family balance as my son prepares for middle school and is thriving in every way. Just this morning I was drawn to the piano and wrote a new song - few things make me feel as alive as music and I continue to be so grateful for its presence in my life.

 

Specificity... 

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!

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