Words & Pictures: The Evocative Songwriting of DW Borro
If you want an indication of just how powerful songwriter DW Borro’s lyrics are, watch his video “Slow Suicide” with the sound off.
Most singer/songwriters would cringe at the idea. Not Borro. His well-constructed lyrics tell such a compelling story of shared experience that filmmaker Schelli Rothi (Taltos Video) is able to convey its message using beautifully sparse images.
In one striking scene, Borro’s character kneels in front of a fireplace, feeding photos into the flames. Pill bottles and a photo of a woman lie on the hearth, and he rests his chin in his hand. A tight shot follows: he is removing his wedding band. Even without hearing the music and lyrics, you empathize with the character in the story, and when the ring—thrown over the edge of a cliff—strikes a rock below, the circle is complete.
The reason the collaboration between Borro and Rothi works so well is because he is a songwriter and storyteller with sense for beginning, middle and end—and his word-images are so evocative that they translate easily to the screen. That’s reason enough to give “Slow Suicide” and the four other tracks on his new CD, Slow Suicide, a listen.
When you add Borro’s guitar work and strong, soulful voice, you get the full impact of what he brings to the table for listeners.
Borro moves with ease in his videos and looks completely comfortable holding his guitar and singing, which belies the fact that he’s quite introverted. “It took me quite awhile to let people hear my music,” he says. “I had no intention of anyone hearing anything I wrote; people I knew for 20 years had no idea I could play an instrument.” Borro says he had guitar case full of little slips of scrap paper; none with a song that had any structure or was finished.
For many singer/songwriters, the process of developing material is to observe, internalize, compose music, and write lyrics. Borro takes a writer’s approach, opting to write about a “collage of personal experience” before setting his story to music. The effect is striking: you feel his music because many of the topics he chooses to sing about are universal truths for many people.
“I wrote my songs for me; it’s good therapy,” he says, adding, “but my hope for my listeners is that they feel connected, that they walk away thinking ‘man, I know how that feels.’”
It’s not all dark and melancholy, however. Borro is able to take listeners to the opposite end of the emotional spectrum as well. As much as “Slow Suicide” speaks of loss, “Share My Name” celebrates love and commitment and that ethereal moment of pure, joy one feels after expressing commitment to another person:
The moonlight shines
Through the window pane
On the very first night
You shared my name
Borro uses simple, powerful poetry to convey a moment of clarity and pure emotion. Filmmaker Rothi drives home the point once again with evocative videography that brings the poignant moments of a wedding day into focus.
He’s realistic about what lies ahead, however. “The biggest challenge is getting airplay; it’s a pretty crowded market with a lot of musicians,” he says. Asked if an artist can achieve success and maintain integrity, Borro says it’s really about doing something well: “famous and good don’t necessarily coincide.”
As more people learn about DW Borro, listen to this music and watch his videos, the more his position as a good songwriter will be secured.
For more information, to view DW Borro’s videos, listen to his music, and purchase the Slow Suicide CD or individual tracks, visit www.dwborro.com.
Sooner Than You Should
Shared My Name
Shared My Name
Stonger Than The Stone
Walls & Fences
Music that is personal
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Fond as the Bluesbunny is of loud guitars, we still appreciate music that is altogether more persona...Fond as the Bluesbunny is of loud guitars, we still appreciate music that is altogether more personal. This 5 track release from DW Borro proved that it is indeed possible to capture pain in a song. Don't get us wrong, however. This is not a depressing album but it is quite difficult to listen to. There are times when you feel more like his close friend than a mere listener.
All of the songs are ballads of pain, loss and confusion. It is unusual to find a male singer that confronts relationship issues as directly as DW Borro does. Maybe that is what makes these songs a bit uncomfortable to listen to. "Slow Suicide" tells the salutary tale of the effects of a decaying relationship. It is hard to describe the effect of "Shared My Name" other than to say that it hurts. "Still" is sentimental and strikes a resonant note for those of us who have lost in love. Way back when "new country" was both new and country, songs as strong as these would have been lapped up. Nowadays, we can only hope that there are enough people out there still looking and listening for something real to properly appreciate them.
It isn't happy music. It isn't joyful music. It is, however, honest music. Strange as it seems in today's fame obsessed world, there are still people out there who make music because they want - or need - to and not because it is the quick route to a Ferrari. More like a confessional than entertainment, you will appreciate these songs at some point in your life. Maybe not today and maybe not tomorrow but someday, you will listen and realise that you are not the only one in pain.
Borro is a singer-songwriter who knows his craft
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August 6, 2007 Who’s Next? Music e-zine New Music Review Los Angeles, CA Reviewed by Marianne B...August 6, 2007
Who’s Next? Music e-zine
New Music Review
Los Angeles, CA
Reviewed by Marianne Brooks
Words straight out of DW Borro’s mouth are “some of my songs take me fifteen minutes to live and three years to write” and what I am thinking, as I review his music, is some songs take fifteen seconds to hit your heart and stay with you for years to come.
The first song that hit me this way was “Over you.”
First, allow me to share the lyrics:
Thought I was stronger, stronger than this
The touch of your skin, the taste of your kiss
All of the memories, the things I do miss?
I'm living without you but I'll tell you this???
Chorus: I never got over you, ?I never got over you,
I told you I did, this I know true
But I never got over you
This song is delivered with a simple, acoustic guitar accompaniment and sensitive, yet striking vocals. “Over You” is authentic - DW is the real deal. He delivers lyrics in an honest and straight-forward manner that is so true to life that I actually felt musically vulnerable. And what I mean by this is that the song opened old wounds and healed them at the same time with the basic tools of a great melody. Borro hits you where in counts - in your heart and he accomplishes this with songs and lyrics that are universal. By hitting a universal chord, Borro's song "Over You" tells the timeless story of love lost without ever sounding bitter.
Any one who has truly loved someone and lost a great love will relate – deeply relate – to I never got over you. In fact, I think the song should be title just that “I never got over you” because it says everything that needs to be said in that one phrase. It's poetic in a sense. Simply put, there are some loves…and some songs that you simply don’t get over. They live and dance and sing in your heart forever. This song has just that quality.
Borro is a singer-songwriter who knows his craft in a literary sense. In other words, he is keenly aware that he is telling a story. I thought the most beautiful song on his album was “Shared My Name.” DW explains that the story is of the very first time he saw his wife walk through the chapel door. She took his breath away. The lyrics of the song will also take your breath away. It is set to the peaceful arpeggios of the acoustic guitar, spiritual and simple. It tells a story that every woman wants to hear and every man wishes he had the words for on their wedding day.
It was love at first sight
Didn’t take a minute more?
Then over the threshold and we closed the door?
Sheets and Pillows lie in a mess?
On the floor lays your wedding dress??
Chorus:?For better or worse ?
For More or Less?
Saying I do?I’ll never second guess?
Moonlight shines through the window pane?
On the very first night?
You shared my name
This song could hit the country charts without a doubt. The song is successful in the capturing the emotions of the moment and of a lifetime. Doug captures all that is important: he sings about feelings that are down to earth (on the floor lays your wedding dress) and magical (it was love at first sight), and mystical (moonlight shines through the window pane) and he sings about commitment (I never second guess…you shared my name). Basically, this is a hit wedding song.
So what is next for DW Borro? Here’s what I think. Borro is a phenomenal lyricist and a talented songwriter. He always delivers a strong chorus. He could work on adding some bridges and he needs to build more into the chorus, but all of this is a matter of good, solid production. DW is slightly understated and like a lot of modest talent, he needs a producer who can bring a bigger sound out of him. A good producer could have these songs hitting the charts, especially “Shared My Name.” With production, I can hear some subtle violins and piano, some percussion, some harmonies and double backing on the vocals – not a lot, just a touch but that is what is missing and this isn’t for any lack of ability – today's music industry demands sharp engineering and production. On the other hand, DW will have no problem maintaining a loyal fan base just the way he is. It's a matter of hitting big time success as a songwriter or simply winning hearts over, one listener at time. As for me, he had me in the first fifteen seconds.
Song Review: Over You
Rating – 4 (with production - DW's songs could chart).
Song Review: Shared My Name
Rating – 4 (with production - DW's songs could chart).
DW Borro melds the power of exquisitely-crafted lyrics with video images
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Still DW Borro There’s an old adage that says “a picture is worth a thousand words.” In his new ...Still
There’s an old adage that says “a picture is worth a thousand words.” In his new video “Still,” DW Borro melds the power of exquisitely-crafted lyrics with video images that stop viewers in their tracks.
A poignant tale of love and loss, “Still” is the a reflection of Borro’s skill as a singer/songwriter and Schellie Rothi’s (Taltos Video Productions) virtuosity as a filmmaker.
In “Still,” the two genres are blended perfectly, with the action in the video driving home Borro’s powerful and subtle lyrics. Rothi backs him up with clean and simple action—Borro turning his back to the camera, for example—that clearly signals how rest of the story will unfold.
Borro considers the song the best he’s ever written lyrically. “The song is a collage of real events, real emotions and heartbreak,” he says. “The characters have been changed to protect the heart of the innocent.” He won’t reveal the exact origin of the story, but he’ll give you a glimpse:
Time don't fly/It crawls and creeps/
layin in bed/prayin for sleep/
it is what it is/your not mine you’re his/
This wasn't part of the plans that we made
Your first impression might be that the character in the story is a jilted lover. Then the imagery changes and you realize what’s really happened: a man has lost his soul mate. And that’s what enthralls Borro’s fans: the twist that he’s able to add to the story he tells with his song.
“Still” feels real because Borro draws from actual experience. “Cathy (Borro’s wife) and I were moving some old boxes she had and one was filled with some of her late husbands things,” he recalls. “She was sorting through the box when I walked in the room. She seemed numb. The finality of her loss hit me for the first time. I finished the song a few days later.”
Watch the video, listen to DW Borro’s powerful, soulful voice, and you’ll understand why “Still” draws you in.
Michael Quinn is a freelance writer based in MD
Typically set list is 5 to 6 songs. No song is longer than 4 minutes. All are originals.