Sarah Borges is known for pouring her heart and soul into her music and leaving it all on the stage during riveting live shows. After releasing three critically acclaimed records, both as a solo artist and with her longtime band, the Broken Singles, touring nonstop, and drawing praise from the likes of Rolling Stone, The New York Times, USA Today, Creative Loafing, The Boston Globe, and many others, Borges signed with Kentucky-based Americana indie label Lonesome Day Records in 2014.
Each album has been just another step in the continuous musical evolution of the Taunton, Massachusetts native. Like most kids, she grew up surrounded by her parents’ record collection, a mix of Bob Dylan and classic rock, Joni Mitchell and Gene Autry, which she supplemented with her self-proclaimed “drama geek” affection for Rodgers and Hammerstein and the guitar- and fuzz-driven spoils of ‘90s alt rock.
Borges played in her own fledgling Boston indie rock bands in her teens and early 20’s before taking a detour into the newly emerging genre of Americana. “I felt like I had spent all of this time trying to couch everything in metaphor, and when I started writing Americana songs I could finally say it plain.”
Those years spent playing in black box rock clubs and rented VFW halls informed Borges's style, and she soon found a believer in producer Paul Q. Kolderie (Hole, Radiohead, Uncle Tupelo), who offered to record some demos, which in turn drew the attention of Texas's Blue Corn Music at Austin's annual South by Southwest music festival. The label released her debut full-length Silver City in 2005, which launched her onto the Americana world's radar and kicked off a whirlwind of touring that found Borges and her band opening for greats like Dave Alvin and Alejandro Escovedo.
Borges' next two outings, Diamonds in the Dark (2007), and The Stars Are Out (2009) were released on mega-indie label Sugar Hill, yet another deal garnered on the merits of a South by Southwest performance. With Kolderie once again at the production helm the resulting albums earned Borges a wide array of critical notice.
Rolling Stone magazine described the artist as "friendly pop–rock with bits of twang, rockabilly, and '50 pop"; and The New York Times called her "a modern-minded honky-tonker with a retro streak", and Paste magazine wrote, "she has all the good parts of Sheryl Crow's sound without the L.A. pop suckdom."
Borges took time off in 2011 to start a family, but released her fourth album, Radio Sweetheart (Lonesome Day Records), in 2014. The 10-track album was engineered by Dave Minehan, singer/guitarist of Boston rock legends the Neighborhoods, and member of the resurrected Replacements. Steve Berlin, who has played with Los Lobos for 30 years, produced the record.
NRBQ's Terry Adams lent his piano talents to a track, and Freedy Johnston and Lone Justice's Ryan Hedgecock each co-wrote a song. 'It's pretty great to have talented friends', says Borges with a laugh.
Borges has a new release, 'Good and Dirty', slated for the top of 2016 on Lonesome Day Records Americana subsidiary Dry Lightning Records. Eric 'Roscoe' Ambel (Steve Earle, the Del-Lords, Joan Jett) is producing, as well as handling the guitar duties. Recorded at Ambel's Brooklyn Cowboy Technical Services studio, it is the first album that Borges has tracked away from home. 'I've just been holing up with Roscoe and getting it done', says Borges. 'I'm pretty focused on the idea of the record that I have in my mind, and on translating that into reality.' The songs are more bare bones rock than her past couple of releases. 'They're pretty much a live show on record, as close to a bootleg as you can get'.
A full summer tour schedule will keep her busy until 'Good and Dirty' is released. Borges's first love has always been performing live, and says that with each record she aims to get closer to the feeling that evokes, both for her and her audiences. 'Rock and roll is supposed to be fun', she says. 'If it's not then you're probably doing it wrong.'
It's come time to make another record. The songs are piling up, the energy is bursting at its seams. It's been a year since my last album, 'Radio Sweetheart', was released, and more than that since you, the people, helped me make it. In the interim I've signed with a label, Lonesome Day Records, and they've helped me lay the framework for this, my sixth release. But the morass that exits now where the 'music business' was is making this shit more complicated.
It used to be (someone cue the Ken Burns film treatment and the Muzak versions of my songs) that you had a band, played a ton of shows, toured your ass off, god willing found a label to put out your music, then sat back and let the machine do its thing. Not so in 2015. Now people write, record and release entire records on their iPhones. There's just so much of everything, all of the time. And everyone wants you to help them pick up the financial slack where their DIY-ness fails.
I guess I do too. But for a different reason. I started this whole band thing when I was 18 years old because it was a logical progression of what my guts wanted to do anyway. Play in a band, make it a job? Best scam going. But then, surprise, surprise, it actually worked. For a good number of years I had a more than pretty good run. And then I went on an extended lunch break to have a kid and take a stab at 'normal' life. But the game had changed when I got back.
The view from here in March of 2015 looks like this: I'm 36 years old, double my age from when I started, and I'm shilling for dough to release another batch of songs. I guess I could do them all as voice memos and get them to you in a 24 hour turnaround. But I'd rather go back to the old way. Not because I'm sentimental, but because I really do think that making music with people you believe walk the straight and narrow path of good rock and roll (I recognize that I may be the first to use those two phrases concurrently) is the only way to get the thing done. The sweaty, dirty, ridiculously fun soulful thing.
Little record companies can't compete with the major label Godzillas and the made in your basement, in-name-only labels. We band people have to pitch in and help them, because, as we all know, even little machines need oil. So I'm jumpstarting what Lonesome Day has promised to help me complete. I'll make the first recording session for the the sixth album happen, and they'll take it from there.
Here's the plan. Eric Roscoe Ambel, who's been in every cool band ever, including the Yayhoos, the Del Lords, Roscoe's Gang and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts is my captain on this venture. He's going to produce and play guitar. Many of my other music friends are going to contribute. We're going to put the record out in the first part of 2016, and utilize all of the ancillary people that I've met along the way who I know walk that straight and narrow I mentioned as parts of our team. I think it's going to be pretty great. Like a party with no drunk jerks.
Here's the way to get it done. Buy my songs. Yes, when the aforementioned album comes out, but right now too. You give me money, I write you a song. Heartless? Nope. Creatively productive and fun? Yup. Song by Second. Could be a 10 second ringtone, a 30 second voicemail greeting, a 60 second ode to a sweetheart, or a 1000 second opus to a hater. You name it, I make it. We're going to raise this money in two weeks or less, and I'll deliver your music in 30 days or less. And then, in April, we'll start the process of making what we call a record.
Maybe, just maybe at the end we little machines will have shown the big machines who's boss. Click here to do it, or go to the Store page.
This Sunday, March 1st at 7pm EST I'm coming over!!! Actually, I'll be broadcasting a solo online concert, free to all. I'm taking requests, you can respond to this email with yours, and you can help put a little gas in the rock and roll mobile by tipping during the show.
You can access the concert using the Concert Window platform (great site, btw), and it's sponsored by a new website that I'm a part of called Amplifi.
Here's what that's all about:
I consider myself one of the lucky ones. Every day I get to create music and, even better, I get to share it with people like you. Some of my most cherished memories are the times that I spend
with friends, both new and old, while I’m on tour. In the spirit of those connections, I have
teamed up with my friends at Amplifi to launch an exciting new subscriber-only program.
Every month I’ll be sharing lots of cool and exclusive content with you. We’ll start with some
unreleased or rarely heard music. You’ll hear songs from the archives, new works-in-progress
and everything in-between. I’ll tell you a bit about the music to give you some perspective on
the creative process. Think of it as a view into how the sausage is made.
There’s also a space where we can chat. I’ll share updates from the studio and from the road,
pictures, videos and ramblings. Got a question for me? Fire away. And don’t be surprised when
I ask you a question or two. Who knows what kind of trouble we can create together.
We are inviting you, one of our special friends and supporters, to enjoy a special preview.
Simply go here to register and use promotion code “Radio Sweetheart” to begin your trial.
I’ll see you there!
I'm excited about the online concert this Sunday, and about my new partnership with Amplifi. You can even send me comments and questions during the show, we'll go for about an hour, and I won't even know if you're wearing your pjs and eating ice cream, or if you're (gasp!) not wearing anything at all!
Thanks so much in advance y'all, and see you on Sunday!
Email email@example.com with questions.
June 22, 2014
Radio Sweetheart is officially being re-released on June 24th (this Tuesday) by its new label home, Lonesome Day Records! That means it will be readily available in your local record store, on iTunes, and many other cool places to get new music.
June 10, 2014
Well folks, here you have it!!
We're over the moon excited about this upcoming release, due out July 20th on Lonesome Day Records.
I have teamed up with one of my all-time favoritebands, Girls Guns and Glory to record “Mixed Messages”, a vinyl 7″ record. With an A and a B side, what we have here are two new duets. An original song of mine we’ve been performing at a lot of recent concerts called “Get As Gone Can Get” and a cover of the Sonny & Cher classic “Baby Don’t Go”.
Produced by the always rockin’ David Minehan (The Replacements, The Neighborhoods, etc) and recorded at Woolly Mammoth Studios in Waltham, MA.
You can pre-order your autographed copy now & we will send it out to you personally, which means you’ll get your copy before it’s available anywhere else!! You are gonna love spinning this spanking new 45 on the ole turntable.
May 29, 2014
SARAH BORGES' NEW SOLO CD, RADIO SWEETHEART, DROPS JUNE 24
Singer/Songwriter Adds Tour Dates with Girls Guns And Glory
(BOSTON, MASS.) - She's been Boston's singingsweetheart for the past few years as part of Sarah Borges & the Broken Singles. But, now, the singer-songwriter is claiming that title of her own as she readies the release of her new solo record, Radio Sweetheart.
The 10-track album, set for release on June 24 viaBooneville, Kentucky-based Lonesome Day Records, is a return to self for the artist. "I wrote songs that felt important to me. Before, I had a lot of co-writes, so a lot of opinions in the mix, and this time I was able to think of just what I wanted. It was scary and freeing at the same time," says Borges, who Rolling Stone magazine describes as "friendly pop–rock with bits of twang, rockabilly, and '50 pop."
One song in particular, Radio Sweetheart, was a trackthat always held a special place in her musical heart, but never had a home until now. "I wrote that song when I was really young, just out of college. For me, it was this version of my childhood self and very personal - it just didn't feel right to record with the Broken Singles. But, now, it means a lot to have it on my new record," says the Taunton, Mass.-born artist.
Radio Sweetheart was the perfect title of her new album as well as it represents her newfound optimism as she embarks on a solo career. "I titled the album Radio Sweetheart out of hopefulness about this record. I decided to call myself the radio sweetheart in hope that it comes true," she admits.
The album was recorded at Woolly Mammoth Sound, which is owned by Dave Minehan, singer/guitarist of Boston rockers Neighborhoods as well as guitar player for the Replacements. Minehan also engineered the album while Steve Berlin, who played saxophone and keyboards with Los Lobos for 30 years, produced the record, whichfeatures a few very special guests - NRBQ's Terry Adams and Lone Justice's Ryan Hedgecock.
"I'm a huge fan of NRBQ and we sort of checked a chord from their song, 'Ridin' in My Car' on my song, 'The Waiting and the Worry.' So it was an honor to have their piano player Terry Adams play on it. When I'm writing songs I always like to think of how it'll play live and this is one I really like to perform. It makes people happy. Lyrically, it tells the story of a girl driving in the car, listening to music, and thinking about a boy," she says.
Another standout track is "Record on Repeat," which was written with another special guest - Ryan Hedgecock of Lone Justice. "This is the closest to the live show out of the all of the songs. It has lots of energy. I went over to Ryan's house when I was out in L.A. one night. His band, Lone Justice, was instrumental in mixing punk and country, and I am so enamored of them and him. We drank some tequila and ended up writing this song that's just a vignette of a rock and roll; fast girl and guy get together in a burst of flames, personified in the record they can't stop listening to. It was a really fun and natural writing experience," she says.
Along with her famous friends, her fans helped Radio Sweetheart along as well. "We did a crowd-funding campaign and within one month, I received more than 150 percent of the money I needed. I couldn't believe it. Donations would come in and there'd be $1,000 from someone I didn't know, and donations from China. Holy cow!" she says.
Borges will be touring for most the year with many shows featuring label-mates Girls, Guns, and Glory's Chris Hersch (guitar), Paul Dilley (bass), and Josh Kiggans (drums) as her backing band.
April 29, 2014
I will be live streaming my upcoming concert at The Center for Arts in Natick with Girls, Guns and Glory, which starts at 8:00pm EDT on May 17. Wherever you are in the world, you can tune in! You can purchase online tickets on a pay-what-you-want basis starting now at http://www.concertwindow.com/shows/5863-sarah-borges. The webshow will not be recorded – it's offered in real time. I hope you can join me!
(photo Joan Hathaway, poster Eric Kelly)
1/16/14 IT'S ALL HAPPENING!
Huge record release show in Cambridge MA for Radio Sweetheart
on February 7th at the very swank Sinclair in Harvard Square. It's a dual release with the awesome Girls, Guns and Glory
, and we've got the Swinging Steaks
opening, Lyle Brewer
providing some masterful guitar between sets (and during my set), and a tarot card reader (in honor of GGG's new record Good Luck).
Tickets are here
, and the night's order of events is:
Doors : 8pm
Swinging Steaks : 9pm
Sarah Borges : 10pm
Girls, Guns and Glory : 11pm
There are plenty of other SB/GGG release shows happening too, CT, PA, NC, VA and more, so check the shows page for info.
1/12/14 Dear friends,
We will be live streaming our upcoming concert at Club Passim, Sarah sings Sarah, where I'll be doing a ton of material sung by one of the original greats, Sarah Vaughan, which starts at 8pm EST on January 26. Wherever you are in the world, you can tune in! You can purchase online tickets for $1 starting now at http://www.concertwindow.com/shows/2570-sarah-borges
. The show will not be taped – it's offered in real time. We hope you can join us!
- Sarah Borges
5/11/13 Yay, press!
Here's a great article penned by Chad Berndtson about the state of me, now:
Sarah Borges Mixes Motherhood and Music - Patriot Ledger
Sarah Borges and the Broken Singles had a hell of a run, with hard-charging shows, a slew of snappy country-rock albums, and well-earned national attention to show for the roughly seven years they spent together.
At some point, however, the realities of a hardworking, low-earning touring band in a sputtering economy became just that – realities – and so did other needs, from stability to family commitments, enter the picture.
“I think we all hit a place where it was time to stop. We ran out of money. Everyone was living on peanut butter sandwiches,” Borges told The Patriot Ledger in a recent catch-up chat. “We’d gotten nice write-ups in the New York Times and Rolling Stone, and I don’t know if we could have broken through if we’d kept going. But it just wasn’t sustainable, emotionally or financially. Two of the [Broken Singles] are 10 years older than me and had things they wanted to do. We all parted the best of friends.”
To a casual observer who knew Taunton-bred Borges only as a road warrior – and the steadily mounting critical buzz she’d garnered over several strong albums and tours – the end of 2010 looked like a hiatus. In reality, she’d kept on, only with far different priorities to hold her: she married Broken Singles guitarist Lyle Brewer in September 2010, and then the following summer of 2011, gave birth to son Elliott, now nearly 2.
“August 2010 was our last tour as the Broken Singles,” she recalls. “Lyle and I had our wedding and enjoyed that time of life for a bit, and then being pregnant was a whole other crazy experience. I did play right up until the month I had my son, intermittently, and then stopped. But then again, we started making the new record when Elliott was three months old. I did want to keep up some kind of continuum.”
Borges’ live dates have become more frequent again. Though the Broken Singles no longer perform – save for the occasional reunion, usually around Thanksgiving – she is playing full-band shows, including May 18 at the Lizard Lounge in Cambridge and June 8 at the Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River with a band consisting of drummer Mike Piehl, bassist Kimon Kirk and guitarist Russell Chudnofsky, all local scene regulars and longtime associates.
In between, she’ll be mixing in solo dates – including an opening slot for Dave Alvin and the Guilty Ones at Johnny D’s in Somerville June 6 – and also a stray show or two with a new group called No Love, a local indie-rock collective in which Borges is more team member than frontwoman.
It’s so hard to have come from doing something where you were a gang,” she said. “We were all best friends and we did it for so many years, and it was such a high-intensity situation. I mean, I know the people I’m playing with now well, but in that [band] situation, you’re so familiar with each other that you know what they eat for breakfast and whether or not they’re wearing clean socks.”
“Boston has a strong music community,” Borges notes. “It’s not like the middle of America where there might be two or three venues in the town and people aren’t willing to come out. Some of the places in Boston have come and gone, but the stalwarts are still here. Still, if you go away for a little bit, you always wonder if people will still care if you come back.”
Borges discovered not long after she returned to regular music that her fans were definitely still out there. She raised about $15,000 as part of a crowd-funding campaign for the first new album since the Broken Singles disbanded, a collection of newer songs called Radio Sweetheart.
“So much of my confidence was gone, and I was wondering if I was even relevant, and something like that makes you feel relevant pretty quick,” he said. “Recording the album was a very loving experience. I’d bring Elliott in and nurse him between takes, and it was a mix of stuff: Broken Singles songs that didn’t make the cut originally, or newbies.”
Radio Sweetheart was cut at Woolly Mammoth Sound, the Waltham studio owned by Dave Minehan of The Neighborhoods, and presiding was Steve Berlin, best-known for his 30-plus years playing sax and keyboards in Los Lobos, but nearly as prolific a producer in a variety of genres.
“We didn’t know him well, but he came to a show in Portland [Oregon],” Borges said of Berlin’s involvement. “It’s not like we spent all night talking or anything but we did click and he said I’d love to do it, so not long into the process he flew to Boston. He’s such a cool presence. He’s the horn player primarily in Los Lobos but is really in touch with drums and keys and everything.”
But it’s there in the story of Radio Sweetheart where things have stalled. The fans who contributed to Borges’ recording have received digital copies of the album, but as of this writing, Borges doesn’t have a label and isn’t distributing the album.
“We are in limbo right now,” she admits. “I want to try and do the record some justice for all the people who so kindly gave, and to me, that means finding the right label to put it out and then promote it doing all the things I don’t necessarily know how to do. It’s hard. So many labels have closed or are closing, and we’ve been through so many near-misses with this: ‘yes, they’re into it, and now they’re not.’ Probably 10 to 15 labels have said ‘maybe’ and then passed on it. Worst case scenario I’ll find a way to put it out myself and work really hard behind it.”
The Radio Sweetheart story continues, but Borges has no problem prioritizing.
“I have a kid who needs my time and if I’m on the road in a band for eight weeks at a time, he’s not getting it,” she says. “A lot of labels want four months of touring booked ahead of time to support a release, but that’s no longer something I’m willing to do or something I feel is totally necessary anymore. I know how to do targeted touring at this point. We’ll make it work somehow.”
Borges says home needs have also weighed on Brewer, who’s spent the better part of the last two years on tour with the Ryan Montbleau Band.
“Lyle has missed a lot of days with Elliott, and he’s out there doing what he does and doing his job, but I think he also feels like he wants to be present,” she says. “Ryan is awesome and there have been some great opportunities and family trips with those guys. It’s been a great mix. I think [Lyle] will ease out of it gently and shift to focus on family and solo stuff.”
In the midst of it all, Borges has still found time to be part of No Love, whose cast includes a number of her favorite local collaborators and harkens back, she says, to the music she loved when she was 18.
“We have a couple of Boston shows and we’re thinking about making a record,” she says. “It’s definitely not going to be for all of my fans, but this is for the love of the stuff we listened to at that time. And we all have five kids between us, so we get it.”
Read more: MUSIC PREVIEW: Sarah Borges mixes motherhood and music - Quincy, MA - The Patriot Ledger http://www.patriotledger.com/entertainment/x464928326/MUSIC-PREVIEW-Sarah-Borges-mixes-motherhood-and-music#ixzz2Tyj9MoL1
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