J.E.Borgen’s musical education started in the kitchen at the age of five when his mother would sing along to her old folk records of John Denver, Gordon Lightfoot, Paul Simon, and Bob Dylan. The power of those icons resonated within and from that moment on Borgen explored the depths of self-expression through music.
The son of a proud Norwegian immigrant, J.E. was taught during his early years to always pursue his dreams and passions in life. He took the words spoken by his father to heart and after graduating from college in Vermont and working in Colorado for a non profit foundation, he decided to take a chance on his love of music. His watershed moment came when he traveled the country on a tour bus as a guitar tech for the band Dispatch. It was through that winding experience that Borgen first began to concretely mold his own sense of creative writing and penchant for entertaining. Ultimately, that event spring boarded him onto the campus of Berklee College of Music in Boston where J.E. pursued studies in songwriting and guitar. After completing his education in 2005, Borgen now lives in Boston writing, producing, and performing – out there on a limb with his guitar, his voice, and his passion.
Through reflective lyrics and soulful melodies, Jon-Erik’s songwriting and poignant voice draw upon his past heroes. His music is an eclectic taste of folk-groove with the influences of rock, Americana, and jazz – built on the foundation of Neil Young, The Beatles, Bob Marley, 10,000 Maniacs, Mark Knopfler, Dave Matthews, and Wilco. With his debut record, Outside, released independently in 2004, Borgen materialized as a refreshingly creative persona among his peers. His new release The General Store continues to honestly portray the stories of his life with an edge that speaks to the masses. Along with his group, The J.E.Borgen Band, Jon-Erik continues to draw wide appeal and a strong grassroots following that spreads from the shores of the Northeast to heights of the Western Rocky Mountains.
J.E.Borgen Band - Established April/04:
Jon-Erik Borgen – guitar and vocal
David Brophy – drums
Adam Ollendorf – Pedal steel and electric guitar
Erik Privert – Bass (acoustic and electric)
**Live sound: Americana Folk Rock rooted in the intimacy of Dylan and mixed with the edge of Wilco.
Outside – 2004
produced by John Mailloux
The General Store – 2006
produced by Scott Riebling
j.e.borgen - guitar, harmonica, vocals
erik privert - electric & acoustic bass
dave brophy - drums, vocals
adam ollendorf - pedal steel, guitar
j.e. borgen - acoustic & electric guitar, harmonica, vocal
The Fall River Sessions (EP) - Release 7/07
The General Store - 2006
Outside - 2004
Track of the Week
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J.E.Borgen's song, "Bring You Back" was selected as track of the week for January 29th, 2007. It is...J.E.Borgen's song, "Bring You Back" was selected as track of the week for January 29th, 2007. It is also featured at #10 (of 660) on the acoustic charts. For more information and listener reviews, please copy and paste this link:
J.E.Borgen on AAA/College Radio
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09.06.2006 - Over the last few months, “The General Store” has broken the radio barrier and is getti...09.06.2006 - Over the last few months, “The General Store” has broken the radio barrier and is getting play on 67 stations in 34 states. The radio campaign continues this fall in AAA/college markets. For a complete list of stations please go to:
The General Store
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"Rather than calling The General Store relevant, it would be more informational to say that The Gene..."Rather than calling The General Store relevant, it would be more informational to say that The General Store is the work of a budding artist who has the potential to be one of his generation’s best in pop music." Joel Dunham, CDreviews.com 4/21/06
*to read this review in it's entirety go to: http://cdreviews.com/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=1261&Itemid=27
CD Baby Front Page! J.E.Borgen
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J.E.Borgen's "The General Store" is a perfect example of how an album can totally hook you in less ...J.E.Borgen's "The General Store" is a perfect example of how an album
can totally hook you in less than 10 seconds. With Wilco-inspired,
alt country quaintness occasionally swirled together with dreamy,
atmospheric backdrops, exchanged by temporary travels into something
more jammy and reminiscent of distant Jack Johnson, J.E.Borgen has a way of fully exploring each an every world he musically explores,
leaving listeners fully satiated, like full bellies of sound. In its simplicity, the album is merely a guy with a guitar, supported by varied instrumental color but that certain something possessing this ten-track album makes it stand out among hundreds.
April 16th, 2006
"HEAR THIS" - J.E.Borgen
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J.E.Borgen "The General Store" April 9th, 2006 Possibly one of the most promising albums of the ...J.E.Borgen "The General Store"
April 9th, 2006
Possibly one of the most promising albums of the year comes from from one of the most promising musicians in the independent scene today. Mixing equal parts Dispatch and Jack Johnson, throwing in a little bit of country and a lot of folk music, J.E.Borgen has developed a sound that is very much his own. Drawing audible similarities to Toad The Wet Sproket lead singer turned solo artist, Glen Phillips, J.E.Borgen's music is very reminiscent of the TTWS sound of the early nineties (i.e. 'Walk On The Ocean', 'All I Want'). The difference here is that J.E.Borgen's music translates much better into the present day singer/songwriter style than to that of the early nineties, but captures the listener in such a way that is timeless. Songs such as 'Bring You Back' and 'Home' are wonderful compositions, effortlessly mixing well written lyrics with simple and accessible music. His music, much like that of Toad The Wet Sprocket, has staying power, and will continue to amaze future generations, regardless if J.E.Borgen becomes a household name or not. And, like Dispatch, his independent status in the music world today will have him garnering fans from all over the country and world solely on the basis that he is a true talent. This album, his second independent release, is a springboard of possibility and opportunity and no fan of independent singer/songwriter music should be without a copy.
click on "HEAR THIS" or "GET THIS"
Spotlight on Jon Borgen
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April 13th, 2006 by Melissa Marshall Middlebury '99 alumnus Jon-Eric Borgen played his first per...April 13th, 2006
by Melissa Marshall
Middlebury '99 alumnus Jon-Eric Borgen played his first performance at the Gamut Room in the basement of Gifford in 1996. Now working in Boston and fresh off the success of his latest album The General Store, he speaks to The Campus about the impact music has had on his life as well as the impression he hopes to leave on his listeners.
to read the full interview, please visit
Coming Back Home
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EAGLE - At first glance, it seems J.E. Borgen forsook the path of least resistance and opted for the...EAGLE - At first glance, it seems J.E. Borgen forsook the path of least resistance and opted for the long road to reach his musical destination.
"Nothing has been straightforward about it," Borgen said.
The 28-year-old, who headlines the Show-Down Town free concert tonight in Eagle Town Park, grew up in Denver and racing for Ski Club Vail. His two sisters live in Edwards, and has a built-in fan base in Denver. Borgen sees his return to Colorado as a happy homecoming.
"We're very excited," said Borgen's brother-in-law Misha Moritz, who lives in Edwards. "I think his music's great, especially for the young, college group. The same people that are into the Dave Matthews of the world are soon going to be into the J.E. Borgens of the world.
Borgen has spent the last year piecing together a talented group of musicians to form a band that is quickly carving a niche in the grassroots music scene in New England and beyond.
With his debut record, "Outside," released last year, Borgen's groove-based, swinging folk-rock sound conjures up images of intimate singer/songwriters he discovered in his youth, long before his own dream would be realized.
A glimmer of hope found its way into Borgen's eye when he tagged along with his mother to a John Denver concert at Red Rocks. Borgen was just 5 years old, but not too young to recognize Denver's ability to connect with the audience.
"My mom exposed me to a lot of music," Borgen said. "Not only John Denver, but a lot of singer/songwriters in that same arena, like Gordon Lightfoot, Neil Young, a lot of Dylan. They inspired me."
He dabbled with the piano and even took up the guitar at 14. But it was lacrosse, not music, that the young Borgen was smitten with.
"I didn't really get into it until my senior year of high school," he said. "I took this course this jug-band type course. It was the first time I was really playing with other people and feeding off the musicianship and creativity of other people."
He went on to attend Middlebury College in Vermont to play lacrosse. He still pursued music in his spare time, performing in a small acoustic band called Sweet Jesus, named for an expression one of the band mates frequently used.
"We wrote a lot of songs and we sucked," Borgen said. "We just played at parties and had fun."
Borgen eventually graduated with a psychology degree and moved back to Colorado where he accepted a position with a nonprofit and then an accounting firm, all the while taking guitar lessons and music classes.
It was not until a friend asked him to go on the road as a guitar tech with his band, Dispatch, that Borgen had an epiphany that would redirect his career.
"It really turned me on to, not being on the road, but just being in that business," he said. "I got to see all angles of it and it was really inspiring. I became interested in the business side."
Borgen applied to Berklee School of Music in Boston and was admitted into the music business management program. Since Berklee requires all students to actively play an instrument, Borgen continued his writing songs and studying the guitar. His curiosity to understand how the business operated from all sides led him into the studio to record his own material.
"I had these songs and I wanted to lay them down. I thought it would be eye-opening," he said. "I wanted to know what it's like to be an artist in the studio and what it's like to be an engineer and produce a record. It turned out that a lot of people really liked the record."
Not only did he garner support from listeners, it gave him permission to explore his talents further.
"I was a little scared to jump in that body of water of being an artist," Borgen said. "I love writing songs. I love performing. That's really what it came down to. It outshined getting into the business side."
Getting a music business management degree valuable
"I just think when you're a young artist you have to know how to
self-promote," Borgen said. "A lot of these young artist are great
musicians but they don't know how to book a gig or promote themselves in a grassroots way. I knew the avenues. I knew the language of how to speak to booking agents and club owners. Hopefully I'll get big enough where I won't have to worry about booking and promoting. But right now I'm in such an infant stage, I have to do all that myself."
"From what I know, J.E. puts so much hard work into it, and he just loves it," Moritz said.
Borgen plans of releasing a new album this fall, material he'll be playing tonight. He wants to stay on the East Coast for at least another year and try to stir the waters a bit more.
"I'm totally pouring my heart into it. It's something I will always do but whether I do it as a career is yet to be seen," Borgen said. "I'm really not trying to think too far ahead and getting caught up in all the what ifs, and focus on small steps that lead to bigger things. You can get really overwhelmed in this business if you're measuring success by where you are 6 months out, and if you don't make it it's so easy to get dejected and leave all your hopes and dreams behind."
6 p.m. today
Show-Down Town free concert series
Eagle Town Park
Catch him on the Zephyr Friday at 10 a.m.
Staff Writer Laura A. Ball can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 619, or email@example.com.
j.e. borgen - Outside
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Mulling over the various subgenres of rock music, it’s hard to find one that carries a more negative...Mulling over the various subgenres of rock music, it’s hard to find one that carries a more negative connotation than soft rock. And rightly so: when I think of soft rock, staid waiting rooms, elevators, and Walmarts come to mind. Music that’s so unambitiously bland that corporations use it to subconsciously convince people to browse a little longer. Despite the general rule of thumb that soft rock is wretched, however, there are a very, very few diamonds in the rough even here. Before this album, I think I could only point you towards the fine soft rock of The Sea and Cake and the quieter material among early (early, mind you) Dave Matthews Band. Jon-Erik Borgen, however, manages to join these thin ranks with this wonderful album: it’s one of those few records that is neither a note too short or too long but is just right.
Borgen is a singer, songwriter, and guitarist currently living in Boston. He began playing music at 14, and has continued to be involved in the business up to the present, as he currently is doing graduate studies in music at Berklee College. His depth of experience and erudition is evidently paying off. Borgen’s melodies are engaging, yet carefree. His songs move in unusual time signatures, which are deftly managed by George Correia’s eclectic drums and percussion work. Borgen’s soothing, yet urgent picking rhythms and alternative guitar tunings are both nuanced, drawing from jazz and reggae guitar playing. His high tenor floats delicately over the complicated, yet thoroughly pleasant and catchy music.
Although the three back-up musicians all possess the technical ability to overload the album with jams, they all reign themselves in, giving spot-on accompaniment, allowing Borgen to tell the story. It’s a good sign that producer John Mailloux thought this was a worthy enough venture to lend not only his monetary support, but also his bass playing skills. Jason Medeiros on piano not only offers alternately soothing and dancehall playing styles, but also had the selflessness to not play at all when a song didn’t require his instrument.
Borgen’s lyrics are as accomplished is his playing. The introspection of the words, like the music, describes daily, seemingly mundane details that somehow become timeless. Many of the songs are love songs, especially the love in heartfelt but careless daydreams.
Hitting a few of the record’s highlights, I should definitely include the title track, “Midnight Sun.” The restrained melodies of the chorus push with the pulsing rhythms of the freight train that the song’s narrator rides. It is only this track that breaks into a loud, Mark Cohn-like chorus, complete with exuberant drumming and tinkling jazz parlor piano. Also nice is the opening of “Down.” Blocks of acoustic guitar and drums play in perfect tandem, divided by perfectly-measured lengths of negative space. The effect is both dramatic, and also points to the superior technique of these players.
The record’s most beautiful moment, though, is saved for last. On “Windsor Gardens”, it’s just Borgen and his quiet guitar, playing a melody that opens flowers and the hearts of girls. If you’re looking for the right song to get your own (girl), you won’t find anything more romantic than this track to play by candlelight. After I’ve spent some time with the lyrics of this song, I’ve realized the overall meaning: the gardens are the same as the beloved.
Monday, 30 August 2004
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Interview with Jon-Erik Borgen Contributed by Joel Dunham JON-ERIK BORGEN The briefest ...Interview with Jon-Erik Borgen
Contributed by Joel Dunham
The briefest of introductions: Jon-Erik Borgen is a very talented singer-songwriter who currently lives in Boston. Though
you haven’t heard of him, I’d suggest you go by his CD now at www.jeborgenmusic.com. Don’t bother testing the waters,
just get it. Yes. It is that good.
O.K., so if you don’t believe me, read the review first:
Recently I had the luck to catch Jon-Erik for some words despite his and my finals…
CDreviews: First off, thanks for doing the interview, it's a pleasure. So, starting from the start! Could you give us a brief
synopsis of how you came to where you are, self-releasing this record, studying at Berklee…?
Jon-Erik Borgen: After graduating from school I was working out in Colorado Springs for a non- profit foundation and on
the side I was playing covers of classic rock and folk tunes at small coffee houses and bars like Wooglin’s and the
Ancient Mariner. At that time my guitar-playing flat out sucked, but I loved playing and writing simple songs. I started
taking lessons from Dan Kirchner, a local bluegrass guru who was also steering me in the ways of applying theory and
melodic structure to songwriting. After working in Colorado for a couple years I came to the realization that I wanted to
study music and be around the music business full time.
By far the most important part of my musical journey was meeting and becoming good friends with Brad Corrigan of
Dispatch. In the fall of 2001, I went out on the road with them as their guitar tech and stagehand. The whole experience
was surreal. Living life on the road in a tour bus, working the gigs, seeing sold out crowds at venues like Roseland, The
Fillmore, The Orpheum, Central Park, and seeing the band interact and perform, was so amazing to me. Instantly I was
hooked. That period ultimately solidified my goal of heading east to Berklee and taking a stab at songwriting, performing,
and whatever else was going on in the music world.
CDreviews: I sensed some interesting rhythms in your guitar style. Do you feel you've been influenced by any "world"
JE: I’ve never been hooked on one style or another. I certainly appreciate any type of music that grooves and makes me
feel uplifted. The back beat rhythm of reggae and the dance feel of swing jazz are two styles that I think I connect with on
a greater level and they certainly come out in my writing. I also love the feel and melody inherent in Latin and Afro Cuban
music, but I have a lot to learn in that regard. For the most part my guitar style is based in folk and rock and if other world
styles are present, it only adds to the uniqueness of the songs.
CDreviews: How do you write your songs?
JE: For me, there really is no structured way of going about the process. On the album ‘Outside’, the rhythm guitar parts
all came first and then the melody and lyrics followed. I have yet to write a song where I am writing the lyric first and then
following up with a guitar part that correlates to the mood of the words. The feel and melody of the guitar most directly
influences the tone and sentiment of the lyric. In terms of thematic elements, the ideas for lyrics stem from life
experiences, books, movies, fantasy, or just plain gibberish.
Saving the words and melody for last is a real frustrating way to write because the initial stab at it feels like it’s been
vomited or forced and I’m hardly ever content. I try to reserve some patience and remember take the time to step away
from the song for a while and approach it later with a fresh heart. Of course there are songs where I’ve done this for years
and they’re still not even close. Sometimes it’s a crapshoot and things fall in place.
With the song, ‘outside.’ I ended up writing and recording three versions of the lyric- The first being about a hobo living on
the street, the second was a girl strung out, and finally about me living away from home. On the flip side, ‘windsor
gardens’ was written in ten minutes.
CDreviews: How do you know your collaborators on this record? Have you gone on tour? What configuration of people
comprises J.E. Borgen live?
JE: The guys who played on the record (George Correia on Drums/Perc, John Mailloux on Bass, and Jason Medeiros on
Keys) were all good friends of John Mailloux’s (Bongo Beach Productions) from Fall River and each one was brought into
the studio at different times during the production. John was really the mastermind behind putting everyone in place.
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I wouldn’t use the word ‘tour’. It’s in the plans but the last few months I’ve steadily played and promoted my music in smaller
clubs around the Boston and New England area. Right now I have a few college shows lined up for 2005 but it’s my goal
to put together a tour in 2005 and really plug the band and CD.
When I’m playing live it’s typically a three-piece band with my friends Dave Brophy on Drums, and Erik Privert on bass.
Both these guys are established jazz players, but they’re on spot with any style. Erik and Dave are a perfect fit for what I
am trying accomplish on stage and in communicating the songs in a live setting. I am constantly shaking my head in
amazement of their talents. Jason Medeiros plays on keys every now and then. He’s also featured on the record as well.
I’ve been really lucky finding all these guys and having them contribute in such a meaningful way.
CDreviews: Who've you been listening to lately? Got any influences?
JE: I’ve always been drawn to artists who were saying something meaningful and doing it in an original or captivating
Ever since I can remember, singer songwriters like Dylan, Simon and Garfunkle, and Gordon Lightfoot were playing in
the background. More recently, artists like The Beatles, Bob Marley, Dave Matthews, Mark Knopfler, and Natalie
Merchant have been strong influences on my sound and musical education.
Lately I am digging Wilco, Coldplay, Ryan Adams, Jamie Cullum, and Jack Johnson.
CDreviews: Any work on new albums?
JE: The songs are slowly but surely coming into the mix and we’ve started to test them out live. The plan is to get back in
the studio and lay something down by next spring.
CDreviews: Do you know Sarah Brindell? I reviewed her album for the site too.
JE: I most certainly do! She was my Arranging teacher at Berklee last spring. She is a crazy cat. Good teacher. Very
CDreviews: I'm running dry on good questions. Anything you'd like to add or shed light on?
JE: Yeah, I really enjoy Kraft macaroni and cheese.
Read Joel's review:
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Long Time Local Debuts CD
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Locals around Vail probably remember Jon Erik Borgen as a racer for Ski Club Vail and a youth with p...Locals around Vail probably remember Jon Erik Borgen as a racer for Ski Club Vail and a youth with plenty of other ties to the valley.
Now Borgen has grown into an accomplished musician, attending the Berklee College of Music and releasing his first CD, entitled “Outside”.
Borgen will be bringing his brand of upbeat acoustic music to Denver’s Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom June 9 – a venue that was voted one of Denver’s best – and he is encouraging Vail locals to head down to Denver for a cool night of music.
Borgen’s guitar and vocal work blend together nicely on his new CD. His voice is light but mature, and fans of John Mayer and Mason Jennings will be pleasantly surprised.
Borgen, age 27, brings real-world experience to his lyrics, giving him the kind of depth that makes us think he can sustain a viable career onstage.
“I was out in the real world working and I decided I wanted to keep pursuing music on a higher level,” he says. “I went out on the road (with a friend’s band) and saw how they were getting it done. And I thought, ‘This is something I should try, or at least give it a shot, be involved in somehow – so I decided to go to Berklee.”
- Tom Boyd
all this rain
pointing to you
in your river
colors of aberdeen
it's a shame
bring you back
all the right
waiting on my soul
lay lady lay - dylan
here comes the sun - beatles
cherry cherry - n. diamond
hide your love - beatles
brandy - looking glass
jimmy thing - dave matthews
jane says - jane's addiction
roots rock - marley
voices carry - aimee mann
thick as a brick - jethro tull
brian wilson - b.n.l.
redemtion song - marley
sweet mary - equalizer
give me one reason - chapman
for no one - beatles
to be young - ryan adams
There are no upcoming dates at this time.