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For the Sender

Four letters. Twelve songs. One Story.

Author(s): Alex Woodard

ISBN13: 9781401941215

ISBN10: 1401941214

Publisher: Hay House UK (18 Sep 2012)

Extent: 136 pages

Binding: Hardcover

Size: 19.2 x 13.8 x 2 cm

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  • After years of chasing his dreams, singer-songwriter Alex Woodard finally had a record deal and an album to promote. He offered to write a song for anybody who pre-ordered his self-titled release; all they had to do was send him a letter about their story, and he would write and record a song just for them at his kitchen table.

    The promotion came and went, and as the record deal fell apart, Alex watched his best friend, a Labrador named Kona, die in his living room with her head on his lap. Her passing shined a harsh light on how far away Alex really was from his dreams, and autumn found him trying to let go of both Kona and everything he thought would have happened by now.

    And then he got the letter from Emily. 

    Emily had finally found the love of a soul mate, a true kindred spirit and best friend, when autumn took him away. Every year since his passing, she writes him a letter to say she misses him and remembers the beautiful moments they had together. She usually tucks the letter away into a box, since there is nowhere to send it, but this autumn she sent the letter to Alex.

    She didn't want Alex to write a song for her. She just felt like his songs were pieces of himself he gave to others, and she wanted to give him a piece of herself as her own kind of gift.

    But Alex did write a song for her. And that song became two, then three, then eventually twelve as more letters came in and Alex showed them to a group of talented musicians who share 'family dinners' in his San Diego neighborhood. The letters ranged from descriptions of unfathomable grief and destruction in Haiti to more intimate tales of being and belonging, which soon took on a life of their own through the songs.

    He didn't know it yet, but Emily's letter had started Alex down his own path of moving through loss and reconciling broken dreams, culminating one cold December night on a small stage in suburban Atlanta. And he found out for himself that a song is like a letter, and a letter is like a prayer. It's more for the sender.

  • Alex Woodard


    Along with singer-songwriter Alex Woodard's long-awaited record deal came the requisite bio, claiming his music industry dominance was just around the corner and assuring his impending fame. But the corner never came, and as that record deal and bio faded into the same gray that envelops so many other promising musicians, a project more beautiful than he could have imagined took its place right in front of him. Alex began his career in acting and had scored several gigs on television throughout his youth, often appearing on the Love Boat and other familiar shows.


    During this time he was also teaching himself to play the piano and guitar, dreaming of a songwriting career. After graduating from UCLA, Alex took an office job on the East Coast but knew it wasn't what he was looking for. So after a short stint in Boston's financial district, he packed up his truck and made his way across the country to Seattle, picking up a Labrador puppy along the way. He didn't know that puppy would become his best friend and the driving force behind the project that would launch him into the creative consciousness fifteen years later. As an adult-alternative music artist, Alex put out five albums in a short 10 years, but it was the Americana-tinged '08 album that found some success. "Halfway" garnered airplay at commercial country radio stations, and a music video for 'Reno', with Sara Watkins of Grammy-winning Nickel Creek fame, spent six weeks on CMT's Pure 12-Pack Countdown, two of those weeks at #1.


    Just before the record deal fell apart, Alex used an ambitious promotion on to draw attention to his album, where anyone who preordered it would receive a personalized song about their story. Alex was overwhelmed with the letters he received and had no idea it would later turn into a whole new creative life. Joining a family of prominent musicians in his small beach town home, such as Sean and Sara Watkins (Nickel Creek), Jon Foreman (Switchfoot), Jordan Pundik (New Found Glory), and singer-songwriter Jack Tempchin, Alex created an entire book, album, and concert about other people's letters.


    The result is Woodard's, For the Sender: Four Letters. Twelve Songs. One Storywhich begins with that puppy he picked up, now a grown dog battling cancer, taking her final breath with her head in his lap. From there the story wraps around the letters and lyrics as it unfolds into a journey of release and redemption, until Alex finds his own letter tucked away in a box high on a shelf. And like a prayer, he realizes that letter was written more for the sender. Alex spends most of his time in a little beach town north of San Diego with a big brown dog named Stella. When he is not writing and playing music, he can most likely be found surfing, riding his horse, and reading the incredible letters people keep sending him. 


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