Pat Alger, who is among the most successful country songwriters of the late '80s and early '90s, comes from a folk background, and that colors the unusually thoughtful, articulated songs he writes.
He first turned up on record himself playing guitar and singing with the loosely constructed Woodstock Mountain Revue on the album More Music from Mud Acres in 1977. He was a co-author of the song "Ocracoke Time," which appeared on the Revue's third album, Pretty Lucky, in 1978, as well as "Old Time Music" on its fourth album, Back to Mud Acres, in 1981, and the sole author of "Southern Crescent Line" on the same album.
But Alger really began to gain recognition as a songwriter with the release of Nanci Griffith's third album, Once in a Very Blue Moon, in 1985. Alger co-wrote the title song, which reached the country charts in 1986. He was also heard from on Griffith's fourth album, The Last of the True Believers, in 1986, for which he co-wrote the song "Goin' Gone." (He also played guitar on the album and did its graphics.) Alger was co-author of the title song on Griffith's 1987 album, Lone Star State of Mind, and that song became a Top 40 country hit. In 1988, Kathy Mattea's version of "Goin' Gone" hit the top of the country charts. In 1990, Mattea took Alger and Fred Koller's "She Came from Fort Worth" to number two.
It's no surprise, then, that when Alger came to record his debut album, True Love & Other Short Stories, in 1991, he was able to call on the help of the cream of the young Nashville writers and performers. Trisha Yearwood, Nanci Griffith, Mary Black, Ashley Cleveland, Kathy Mattea, and Lyle Lovett all turn up, though Alger himself is the focus, singing his best-known songs. "No one sings or plays Pat Alger like Pat Alger himself," Griffith writes. ~ William Ruhlmann