Boris Garcia
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Boris Garcia

Palmyra, New Jersey, United States | INDIE

Palmyra, New Jersey, United States | INDIE
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"Boris Garcia - Today We Sail - CD Review"

April 19, 2011 Brian Robbins -

Ah, those Boris Garcia boys: shape-shifting tricksters who never lose track of who they are; psychedelic-folked-up-Kokopellis-of-the-highest-order; navigators of oceans of genre-blending sweet goo.
Somehow, over the span of four studio albums, Boris Garcia has managed to establish a recognizable sound and vibe while evolving and expanding their sonic palette at the same time.
Think about it: “Point of Grace” off 2005’s Family Reunion was basically multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Jeff Otto multi-tracking ukulele and bass parts over Stephe Ferraro’s brushes-on-a-pizza-box rhythm track – it could snuggle right in amongst any of the tunes on Today We Sail and wouldn’t be out of place. How do you explain it? Group understanding and dedication to a particular vibe? Works for me.
One way the Borises work their magic is to lay it on subtly: they welcome you in and get you good and comfy in the just-right arm of an old familiar tie-dyed easy chair. It’s not until you’ve already lifted off that you realize the thing has booster rockets strapped to the bottom of it – but by then it’s too late to turn back … and who wants to? Let the warm wind blow your hair back and blow your cheeks out like a Redbone Coonhound with his head out the sunroof. Never seen a sky that color before? Good for you. Just go with it and let the music play.
Try it for yourself: Today We Sail kicks off with “Walking Barefoot”, where we find Bud Burroughs’ happy mando dancing and skipping over Ferraro’s straightforward drums and Bob Stirner’s chopped-out electric guitar. What’s this – some threads of pedal steel woven in? No shock there: the band brought pedal maestro Buddy Cage in as a guest for their last studio effort (2008’s Once More Into The Bliss ) and made good use of the extra texture. The lessons learned on Bliss have morphed into the addition of Chip “Dr. Steel” Desnoyers as a full-time member of Boris Garcia … and his impact on the band’s overall sound is so right – yet so natural – that you’ll be going back to their early albums just to make sure that he hasn’talways been there.
“Everybody says I’m crazy, but I’d have to say – probably okay,” sings Stirner just before the band swirls into a break, with Burroughs laying down some English country garden tea-and-acid-laced-crumpets on the keyboards before we hear the sweet voice of Railroad Earth’s Tim Carbone’s fiddle, followed by Desnoyers’ pedal steel soaring and cascading all over everything. For a moment, the music is miles-deep and full of chambers that keep opening and closing (just how many sets of strings are there, anyway?) until everything spirals up and pops just past the three-minute mark, bringing us back to the present dimension.
How did they accomplish that? It’s hard to say … but that’s just typical Boris Garcia – it’s what they do.
Besides providing tasty guest fiddle, Carbone returns as producer on Today We Sail, having proven himself totally in sync with the Boris Garcia vibe on Bliss. It would be too easy to refer to Carbone as Boris Garcia’s George Martin, but it honestly and truly fits the bill. The insight he brings to the table as a non-member is always true to the band’s established karma. It makes for a good team.
Knowing that Stirner and Jeff Otto are the principal songwriters for the band, one might be surprised to read the liner notes and find that they didn’t actually write any tunes together. The songs dovetail nicely on Today We Sail with no obvious segregation of “Jeff songs” vs. “Bob songs” – it’s all Boris Garcia music. Both of them write solid tunes that could stand alone just fine in a stripped-down acoustic setting, but easily lend themselves to be jammed-out as the moment dictates.
More highlights: Otto’s epic and deeper-than-you-might-think “Song Dog”, featuring blistering mando by Burroughs and wild-ass steel work by Desnoyers; the slow, glorious churn of Stirner’s “Mighty High”; the joyous hear-me-now declaration of “Song of Love”; the ghostly twang-and-snap of “Long Black Hair” (which sounds like a cross between an Appalachian-flavored Robert Hunter tune and one of Steve Earle’s ballads); and the absolute sweetness of the album-closing “Christmas In June”, as fitting a place to end as “Walking Barefoot” was to begin.
Bud Burroughs has always made the transition from things with strings to keys effortlessly, but Today We Sail sees him step to the forefront with some killer piano/organ work, whether it be subtle accents or lovely leads. (Check out his where’d-that-come-from break during the funk of “Good Home”.) Ferraro’s drumming can be as straightforward or as out-there as needed; he’s equally at home sitting by the fire or soaring off on a rhythm mission to some faraway place. (Again, check “Good Home” and Ferraro’s work when the jam takes over and the band begins to roll and tumble at 3:20 – somebody’s gotta keep the thing in orbit and give the others a safe place to return to.)
All in all, Today We Sail is no surprise because it’s full of surprises – and all of them sound just like Boris Garcia.
Brian Robbins - & Relix magazine
- Brian Robbins - - April 19, 2011

"Into The Great Unknown"

No, this is not a family relation to the Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia. It's the name of a band that has learned from that era and pushed it forward with a graceful, jamgrass touch. The music echoes a cross between the acoustic-sided Dead of "American Beauty" and the hedonistic pleasure cruise of New Riders of the Purple Sage. In fact, former Dead backup singer Donna Jean Godchaux-MacKay and New Riders pedal-steel ace Buddy Cage are along for the trip. But the core of the Philly-based Boris Garcia is three singer-songwriters - Jeff Otto, Gene Smith, and Bob Stirner - who each bring striking skills to this project. Stirner's "She Wasn't Born to Follow" (a clever play on a Byrds song) is a great, mandolin-laced tune about a woman who answers to her own muse. Otto's "Riverman" suggests Harry Chapin's "Taxi" with lyrics influenced by Hermann Hesse's "Siddhartha." Adding color are uilleann pipes, Mellotron, and bouzouki. It's an album that the real Jerry Garcia might have loved. [Steve Morse] - Steve Morse - The Boston Globe (Oct 21, 2008)

"Boris Garcia"

The name may suggest yet another Grateful Dead cover band, but Boris Garcia’s debut album, Once More Into The Bliss shows the band to be a tight, versatile ensemble with a unique, polished sound. The opening song, “Holiday,” begins with a cheerful mandolin and recorder motif that is soon joined by swelling cello and violin figures straight out of Sgt. Pepper’s. The next track, “She Wasn’t Born To Follow” has eastern modal mandolin lines that, along with guitarist Bob Stirrer’s Roger McGuinn-soundalike lead vocals, makes the song sound like a lost outtake from the Byrd’s Younger Than Yesterday. Guitarist Gene Smith’s songs, including “Everything’s Going To Be Fine,” also have a Nuggets-retro vibe that is enhanced by Railroad Earth violinist Tim Carbone’s sparkling production. The group does manage a deadish shuffle. Multi-instrumentalist Bud Burroughs contributes unorthodox sonic seasoning with things like Mellotron, glockenspiel, and button accordion; percussionist Stephen Ferraro provides the perfect shuffle; and the group is augmented by guests like Buddy Cage, Donna Jean Godchaux, and Carbone. Once More Into The Bliss is an impressive, thoroughly entertaining debut. - Michael Parrish - Dirty Linen (Feb 26, 2009)

"Intro: Point of Grace"

The snow was just plain nasty: thick and wet and heavy. No doubt, the ride home later on in the evening would be a challenge. But there was no room in our souls for worry at that moment as right now reigned supreme. And right now, we were tucked inside One Longfellow Square, a sweet little venue in downtown Portland, ME enjoying being among the few who had chosen to not think about the weather and experience the band Boris Garcia. And right now, we were deep into the heart of the song "Point Of Grace", comfortably wrapped in the warm folds of a joyous jam. I nudged my wife and pointed toward the band, shaking my head: you had a front line consisting of Bud Burroughs on bouzouki, Gene Smith weaving sweet recorder riffs, and Jeff Otto head down and driving the rhythm with his ukulele – all the while, Bob Stirner rolling a bass line along on top of Stephe Ferarro's jazzbo-flavored drums. I shook my head in wonder and my wife grinned back at me, knowing exactly what I was thinking. "But it works!" she said.

Yes, it did.

Interview: The Winnebago Tape

Composed of five longtime friends, the Pennsylvania-based band had sailed their Winnebago up into the northeast as part of a voyage to promote their latest album, Once More Into The Bliss. Featuring guest appearances by Donna Jean Godchaux, Buddy Cage, and Tim Carbone (who also produced the album), Bliss is the third installment in a series of albums chock full of, well, in the band's own words, "Boris Garcia music.”

Between soundcheck and the gig in Portland, ME, we were invited aboard the Winnebago, where we talked with the Boris boys about their sound, their inspirations, and their friends. (Please note: the finished interview, apart from laughter, only contains one quote from Bud Burroughs, who tends to the quiet side. Not to worry – Bud did his talking later on during the show via mandolin, bouzouki, and keyboards … big time.)

To read the interview follow this link to jambands site - Brian Robbins - (Mar 26, 2009)

"FMQB says this about Boris Garcia..."

"It's a happy accident that this band of acoustic virtuosos, who started out adopting its curious name before combining Folk and Bluegrass into short little tunes, has evolved into an acoustic Jam band worthy of the "Garcia" part of its moniker. But the ability to improvise is where those comparisons end, as the addition of succinct, Pop-inflected tunes has made this one of the most refreshing purely acoustic records to hit Triple A this year. FMQB suggests you check out the whole album, but you may want to start spinning "Twinkling Of An Eye," Red, White & Blue" or "All For The Best" to hear your audience's reaction to Boris Garcia."
- Friday Morning Quarterback - Friday Morning Quarterback

"An excerpt of Jim Grady's review..."

Now, in a small suburb of Philadelphia, a fine quintet of pickers, named Boris Garcia, is peaking its head from behind the music industry’s patrol and is finally seeing the other side of the musical border. Your first thought might be, “Hm, Garcia is in their name, they must play some Dead tunes!,” but these boys specialize in all original compositions. Though they have a great love and respect for the Dead (two of their members played in a NJ-based Dead cover band in the 80’s and 90’s), and do exhibit strains of GD and their penchant for improvisation, BG has not covered one Dead song, or any other band’s song, in the last two years that they have been playing. Most of their venues have been small bars in Philly, NJ, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, but if their most recent shows reveal any prescience, then they will be playing a little further west and south in the near future. The future looks bright for these cats, and it seems like nothing is going to stop them from realizing their collective dream of impacting the lives of their fans.

If bluegrass is gaining popularity, then Boris Garcia is one of the many bands that are helping the cause. With their utterly unique approach to creating genre-bending, mind-expanding, and completely original music, they are paving their own lane in a large live performance highway. Soon, fans of all different types of music will speak of them, but the one thing that their fans will share is a love for a band that has fun on stage, while playing their hearts out and letting the music be a great raconteur of life stories.

After a performance at the tiny Mermaid Inn in Chester Hill, PA, I had the great opportunity to chat with one of BG’s multi-instrumentalists (every member of the band plays at least two instruments), Bog Stirner, about the origins of the band’s name, his and the band’s influences, and how the moral of the film Groundhog Day is about chasing your dreams. read Jim Grady's interview with Boris Garcia's Bob Stirner, follow the link to 4twk.

Jim Grady - - For Those Who Know - Music & Culture Magazine (Mar 1, 2006)

"Phila Folk Fest Open Mic"

I had the honor of hosting the Open Mic at Folk Fest again this year. After the Main Stage shows ended, the Food Tent was transformed into the Brigadoon Café as concertgoers found a place to hang and enjoy late night entertainment. The stage was open to budding songwriters, musicians, comedians, storytellers, dancers, and poets. One of the most impressive acts at Open Mic was Boris Garcia’s Family Reunion.from Philadelphia. Engaging the audience with captivating songs and solid musicianship, they continued with impromptu performances in the campgrounds. Guitarist Bob Stirner has been coming to the festival for twenty six years. He reflected, “I’ve worked hard to identify the things in life that make me happy. The Philadelphia Folk Festival is one of my bliss zones.”

Steve Walker - Hearthstone Town & Country


2013 "Boris Garcia Live"
Produced by Boris Garcia
Porchwerk Music

2011 "Today We Sail"
Produced by Tim Carbone
Porchwerk Music

2008 "Once More Into The Bliss"
Produced by Tim Carbone (Railroad Earth)
Featuring Buddy Cage (NRPS), Donna Jean Godchaux (Grateful Dead) and Carbone. Porchwerk Music / Dig Records

2006 "Mothers Finest"
Produced by Jeff Otto & Bob Stirner
Porchwerk Music

2005 "Family Reunion"
Produced by Marcus Neimoeller
Porchwerk Music



A very unique, rootsy band from Philadelphia, sharing a common thread of multi instrumentalism and free art form songwriting, Boris Garcia tells the tale of America with pop sensibilities and quirky twists.

In the past eight years since inception, BORIS GARCIA has set about trouncing genre lines in the sand and has fused Pop, Bluegrass and Jam into their own undeniable sound. BORIS GARCIA was born when friends recorded for fun only to find an audience beyond their wildest dreams. We put together a band of the best local musicians for a one-off gig, It worked so well we did it again, and again, and again. BORIS GARCIA quickly evolved into one of the most unique Americana / Jam bands in the land. They masterfully blend acoustic and electric instrumentation. Their latest studio CD Today We Sail was produced by Railroad Earth fiddler Tim Carbone and is their fourth national release. The eleven tunes showcase Boris Garcias ability to tell a story and forge a lasting melody. Love and compassion, tales of higher order and sometimes personal disorder, songs that speak to the human condition.

Boris Garcia has seen significant commercial airplay charting AAA and Americana pacing them outside most of the Jamband crowd, "real songs that resonate despite any monikers or genre classification. Boris Garcias Once More Into The Bliss factored in the charts and placed in the top 10 for over 8 months peaking at #6 overall. Today We Sail has already begun to climb the charts, debuting at #11.

See Boris Garcia: