Sarah Borges & The Broken Singles
Change is something that takes a little getting used to. If you need proof of this, ask the soulful Sarah Borges. After a long and successful stint with her band, The Broken Singles, 2011 marked the band’s breakup – and Sarah embarking on a solo career. She admits it took some time to adjust. “One of the things I didn’t expect is when you’re on stage and you’re doing a show, there’s certain things you have to do. You have to tune your guitar. You have to take a sip of your drink. It’s just inevitable. I guess I had my band mates fill in that space – whether it be telling jokes or on-stage banter. You can’t have that when it’s just you. That’s a change. You have to be ok with it being quiet for a second. Also, you play out with your bandmates so much – especially when you’ve been together for a long time, and you operate as a unit. You have to dig deep and think about how you’re going to make the show exciting by yourself instead of relying on others.” However, “digging deep” has never been a problem for the Massachutess native. Whether it be through performances or her writing, Borges has learned to dazzle – and do it well. That ability can be heard all over her 2014 Radio Sweetheart disc, as well as her upcoming follow-up, Good and Dirty, due in early 2016. She attributes that ability to a very eclectic sound, which she comes by naturally, she says. “I would say that my sound is straight up rock and roll, but it’s the sum total of what my record collection looks like. The new record that I am working on is certainly more Americana than the last record was. It’s also more rock than the last record. I would say that it’s a version of the live shows – a lot of loud guitars and loud singing. You can certainly dance to it.” Just what was Borges listening to during those formative musical years? “When I started playing in a band, I listened to X and its’ offshoots, like the Knitters and other bands that its members were in. I also listened to a lot of old country from my dad’s record collection, and a lot of classic rock. I grew up in Boston, which in the 1990s was such a hotbed for indie rock. You could go and see all your favorite bands in the clubs every Saturday night. There’s a lot of musicians and bands that came from here, and were so accessible when I started playing. That helped me out a lot in terms of me thinking it was possible to be in a band.” Though the creative side of her loves to record, Sarah says that it’s being on stage night after night that is truly her greatest passion. “That’s my favorite part of music. Every night is different, and determined by the people in the audience. Sometimes, the crowd is so ready to go, and sometimes you might have to work things a little more. I like to do it night after night, because it’s a living and breathing thing – and it evolves.” When it comes to creating music, Sarah explains that she feels a little more free these days to let the listener inside her soul. It didn’t used to be that way. “I was so wary of getting too personal in songs, or I would think about things a lot before I wrote. But, I think after a long time of touring and playing, and having lived a little bit and having a child, I realized that the only way you’re going to have a serious connection with people is when you’re honest. Nobody can ever fault you for being that. With the new record, I have just gotten divorced, and I have a child. So, I’m not afraid to lay it out there anymore. What’s the worst thing that can happen? Nobody is going to die,” she says with a laugh. For Good and Dirty, Borges received some all-star help in the producer’s chair. “I got to work with Eric “Roscoe” Ambel who has such a great track record – Steve Earle, Bottle Rockets, Joan Jett. I had met him through some mutual friends. He’s producing and playing guitar on it.” To record the disc, Borges ventured outside of her Boston comfort zone. “I went to his studio in New York, and we worked on the songs a little bit. I’m using his guys that he plays with on the record. I’m excited about it, because I feel that it’s the most honest record I’ve made to date. The first single is called ‘Caught By The Rain.” As the release date of the album beckons, look for Sarah Borges to be in her natural habitat. “We’re going to be on the road a lot. I was on tour with the Broken Singles for about eight years, then I stopped to have my son. The music business has changed so much since then, but one thing that hasn’t changed is people still go out and hear live music. I’m going to continue to do that, because that’s what I know how to do.” Other songs from Good and Dirty that Sarah is ready to share with her fans include the autobiographical “Tendency To Riot,” of which she says is about “finding yourself at loose ends, and trying to figure out how to go out and have fun.” On the other end of the spectrum, there’s the emotional wallop of “Lucky Us,” which in the writer’s words is “a sad story about a relationship ending and how it wasn’t the greatest relationship to begin with. That’s the country weeper, I guess you could say.” One of the most beautiful cuts from the album is the evocative “All The Things That You’ve Been Missing,” which shedescribes as “a love song to New York City, which I thought was fitting since that’s where we’re making the record. It’s about looking at the city from across the bridge and wanting to make it big and do your thing, but you just can’t get there, It’s both metaphorical and autobiographical too.” Telling her story – and being a musical bad ass in the process. That’s Sarah Borges. Take a listen. You’ll be glad you did.
The Backyard Committee
The Backyard Committee is a New Haven collective of musicians that takes the best parts of both classic jam band music and '90s indie rock and blends them together, providing an updated take on jammy musical exploration (without the stigma). The melodic songs are equally inspired by Dylan, Van Morrison and the Dead as they are by Pavement, Neutral Milk
Hotel and Guided by Voices. At a good BYC show, you'll hear lots of mistakes. If you're not hearing mistakes, then they're not going for it all-out. Imperfections are part of the beauty of it all, and in a sonic landscape dominated by digital editing, auto-tune and slick studio perfection, the occasional sour note is suddenly exciting and refreshing. It's raw, rootsy music, but seen through a lens that's unique to 2013. The band's debut self-titled album is available for free on the band's website, and a follow up is slated for the late spring.