Jade Alger’s music is shaped by the eclectic influences of European classical instrumentation and American folk lyricism, where storytelling and whimsy collide. In a recent interview, Alger discussed how his latest album, Kinora, is a holistic representation of life’s intricate goings on. I felt the distress, poignant sadness, and sheer joy that comes with being human as I listened to the stories tucked into each song. His album is scheduled to be released March 17th, on St. Patrick's Day.
Whose music inspires you?
Jade: Bands like Simon and Garfunkel and Nick Drake influenced both my musical and lyrical content. However, it’s hard to say who directly influences my lyrics the most because I think abstractly, in word pictures. Most of the time, my music is based on a mood or an atmosphere. It starts in a pretty abstract way. It often starts with a mood, and the lyrics develop around that feeling. The structure of my songs flow from that.
Serge Gainsbourg and Yann Tiersen , two French musicians, influence my music stylistically . I think the counter rhythms found in French classical music have always appealed to me, but European music at large has a special place in my heart. It started with the Beatles and grew from there. My wife is from Slovakia, so we listen to a lot of music native to her country, especially I’ve lived in that culture for a few years, and Richard Muller has had a huge influence on me.
What was the inspiration behind Kinora, your newest album?
Jade: My initial album, Unfolding the Muse, was a collection of songs that I wrote years ago and newer songs, spanning 15 years. For that album, I felt like I was recording in order to compile what I had created over time. From that project, Kinora emerged as a result of wanting to experiment with more instrumentation and collaboration. I was ready to record this next album. I wrote all of these songs in a shorter period of time than my first album and also started each song with a different instrument, which lead to a wider variety of nuances and moods over the course of the album.
Who have you collaborated with on this album?
Jade: Locally, there’s female vocalist Christina Collins, whose beautiful voice has a mellow folk style that worked really well with a few of the songs on the album. Joshua Caleb Green, a drummer, is also featured on this album. Josh, his wife, and I collaborated in 2009 on a project called ILA Jade. I decided to use a track from his latest drum project as the foundation for the title track of my album, “Kinora.” That song was fun to create because it began with cello and drums and built up from there. Mark Cooley is another local artist I worked with, who plays the upright bass. Internationally, I was able to work with a Russian violinist who plays on the track “Ghost.”
What have you learned about yourself through the process of recording this album?
Jade: I have learned that I like the results of recording an album when the process is more spontaneous, which is what happened with this album. It’s also hard to know when to decide when the album is finished. In the future, I would like to find musicians that I could consistently record and perform with.
What are some goals for the rest of 2018?