Thoughts From Music Row
By Alan Rhody

NASHVILLE -- Happy summer, everyone. In considering what I might talk about this time around, I passed on things like the political bull that seems to be getting deeper by the day down here and slowly souring the business; then there was Fan Fair, nah; Summer Lights; Garth Brooks?

Then I put on a new Sugar Hill CD release called True Love & Other StoriesBy singer-songwriter Pat Alger. After hearing the hit versions of some of these composition, it was a pure pleasure to hear the man who wrote or co-wrote them perform them with pure heart and soul. Some of them include "Goin' Gone" (Kathy Mattea), "True Love" (Don Williams), "Lone Star State Of Mind" (Nanci Griffith).

Pat Alger is someone who has been working in the music business since the early seventies and knows who he is and what he wants to do with his music. A veteran folk survivor turned hit songwriter, this is the first Sugar Hill outing for Georgia native Alger. And a great outing it is. Employing the talents of some of Nashville's more sensitive and thoughtful players, Alger moves through the collection with natural ease and motion. Every song is a well written, interesting piece. Pat's own guitar playing is the central music source which is beautifully accented by such greats as Kenny Malone (drums and percussion), Dave Pomeroy (bass), and harmonica virtuoso Kirk "Jelly Roll" Johnson. Nanci Griffith, Lyle Lovett, Kathy Mattea, Ashley Cleveland, Mary Black, and MCA newcomer Trisha Yearwood all provide backing vocals at one point or another.

Don't misunderstand. These are not big over-produced tracks. They are as produced as they need to be with the right amount of tasteful accompaniment. For the believer in clean, honest delivery, this is an album you need to have. Weaving through folk, jazz, blues, and country sources and influences, True Love and Other Stories is something the acoustic-music world can be proud of. Co-producers Alger and "great music guru" Jim Rooney show what their years in this crazy roller-coaster business have taught them.

The Braque-like cover design is also very cool.

Now, moving to a couple other things. Don't forget to come to Kentucky Music Weekend at Iroquois Park July 26-28. Big times will be had by all! I'll be on the Saturday night concert and Sunday afternoon festivities. (I'm working on bringing a surprise guest with me.) I'll also be doing a concert at Kenlake State Park on July 13, and a writer's night at the Boardwalk Cafe in Nashville on July 17. So y'all come.

By the time you read this I will have been to Ontario to perform, and attended a couple of Bluejay's games. So eat your hearts out.

(Alan Rhody was born in Louisville, and is a successful songwriter and performer now living in Nashville, Tenn.)