Pat Alger was born in New York, but raised in the small town of LaGrange, Georgia. As a teenager, he taught himself to play guitar and began writing songs at age 15. He studied architecture and graphic design at Georgia Tech in Atlanta while touring the Southeast college-club circuit, sharing stages with singer-songwriters such as Jerry Jeff Walker, Steve Goodman and Jonathan Edwards.
He moved to Woodstock, New York in 1973 and made three folk albums with the Woodstock Mountains Revue for Rounder Records. This loose-knit group also included, at one time or another, John Sebastian, Paul Butterfield and Eric Andersen. Alger also recorded a 1980 duet album with guitarist/singer Artie Traum, also for Rounder, and the two toured together internationally.
He next spent time in Boston and Manhattan trying to break into the songwriting mainstream. Alger's first success as a songwriter was "First Time Love." Recorded by Livingston Taylor, it became a Top 40 pop hit in 1980.
Alger moved to Nashville in 1981. The Everly Brothers chose him as their opening act in 1984, and he toured with the duo for four years thereafter. His songs have been recorded by Mickey Gilley, Brenda Lee, Dolly Parton, George Hamilton IV, Crystal Gayle, Patti Page and Peter, Paul & Mary, among many others. He has written Top 10 country hits for Kathy Mattea, Garth Brooks, Hal Ketchum, Don Williams and Trisha Yearwood.
His solo albums include True Love and Other Short Stories (Sugar Hill, 1991), Seeds (Sugar Hill, 1991) and Notes and Grace Notes (Liberty, 1994). Pat Alger was named Songwriter of the Year by the Nashville Songwriters Association in 1991 and ASCAP's Country Songwriter of the Year in 1992. From 1995 to 1997, he was president of the Nashville Songwriters Association International board and most recently named 2013 Inductee Georgia Music Hall of Fame.