Sarah Borges

Earlier this week, I was inspired by a post over at songs:illinois to go back and spend some time with the music of Boston based songstress Sarah Borges. Sarah’s new CD with her band The Broken Singles is due out March 24th from Sugar Hill Records, and the aforementioned post has a track from the new album called “No One Will Ever Love You.”

Sarah Borges first came to my attention after the release of her 2007 album Diamonds in the Dark. I was drawn immediately to her boozey, bluesy brand of honky-tonk rock and the reckless energy that was conveyed on most of the tracks. The lead single “The Day We Met” (included in the songs:illinois post… go listen) became part of my soundtrack for 2007 and was included on the year end mix CD that my wife and I made that year. It is pure roots-rock bliss.

The album has plenty of rough edges, but it isn’t afraid to hide them. Instead, they are worn proudly like a badge of honor. Guitars crunch and crash on the rocking “Diabolito” and “Lonely Town of Love.” Steel guitars cry out on honky-tonkers “Lord Only Knows” and “False Eyelashes.” Two of the more subdued tracks on the album are covers. One from Tom Waits (“Blind Love”) and the other, oddly enough from L.A. punk pioneers X (“Come Back to Me”). It all blends together into an album that is very varied in its sounds and influences, but is held together nicely by Sarah, her band, and the energy with witch they play.

I found more of the same on her 2005 debut album Silver City. Barroom rock, country laments, rockabilly riots… they’re all here. Most of the songs are Borges originals, but she skillfully covers Tommy Dorsey and The Teenage Fanclub, and makes both feel as though they belong here on a country-rock album. How many other artists do you know that can cover Tommy Dorsey and X in the span of just two albums?

That brings me to her third album The Stars are Out due in March. The title track is all I’ve heard so far (EDIT: Not the title track… one called “No One Will Ever Love You”)… so this may be premature… but I don’t hear any of the fire that was present through so much of the first two albums. I hear pristine and polish. It’s not bad song… it just doesn’t sit right with me just yet.

I’m still very anxious to hear the full release, and I will try to get back with a final verdict once I have. Hopefully the rest of the disc will turn me around. Sarah’s never disappointed me before.

While we’re waiting for the new one… here’s a taste of those first two discs that I was talking about.

First is “Same Old 45” from Silver City. This one is a foot stomping retelling of the 70’s hit “Brandy” (She’s a fine girl) fueled by a looping bass drum and crunching guitars. Next is “Lord Only Knows” from Diamonds in the Dark. This one leans more on a country foundation with steel guitar and high amounts of twang. These two songs showcase the two extremes of Sarah’s sound and prove just how well she can pull off both styles.

Sarah Borges: Same Old 45 (Buy Album)
Sarah Borges: Lord Only Knows (Buy Album)

4 Responses to “Sarah Borges”

  1. Hold on to that faith in Sarah's music and feel free to join us – Sarah Borges & The Broken Singles Fan Club.http://www.myspace.com/sarahborgesfanclub

  2. I agree. It sounds like the same old story. Soften the edges in hopes of commercial success only to dillute the product as a result. The new track does nothing for me.Lucinda Williams fought against it for years, but stuck to her guns. But, of course, Lucinda has way more talent than most.

  3. To the fan club… I am keeping the faith. I’m still looking forward to the album.Paul… there just aren’t many people like Lucinda in this Sweet Old World.

  4. I saw Sarah w/ band twice last spring at Austin’s Opal Divines for the alt SXSW showcases. Both nights she was electric, combining 70’s punk attitude w/ killer songs loaded w/ hooks. The band is tight as Jack Benny and their live show is not to be missed!

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