Sarah Borges
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Sarah Borges

Arlington, Massachusetts, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Arlington, Massachusetts, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Rock Americana


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"The Day We Met"

Don’t get us wrong, no one loves Joe’s Pub more than we do. But we can think of a few ways that swanky lounge might have been refurbished to suit last night’s record-release date by Boston roots-rockers Sarah Borges and the Broken Singles. All those tables? Outta there. Toss some sawdust on the floor. Instead of pricey cosmopolitans, $5 pitchers. A pool table and a smoky haze in the air would have finished the picture nicely.

We told you about Borges—pronounced BOR-jes, not BOR-haze—last week in a five-star review of her new album, Diamonds in the Dark. She’s a Massachusetts native currently based in Boston, and her music struck us as a whip-smart mixture of old-school torch and twang (Wanda Jackson, Merle Haggard, Dwight Yoakam) and punk-rock attitude (old Elvis Costello, X, Lone Justice). “The Day We Met,” the disc’s lead-off single, has an unbeatable power-pop bounce, while “Stop and Think It Over,” penned by garage-rock maven Greg Cartwright, is a throwback to the soulful girl-group sound. (Small wonder that former Shangri-La Mary Weiss also covered the latter song on her recent comeback album.)

Despite a massive cult in Boston and a healthy following on the roots-rock tour circuit, Borges has yet to break here in New York. Last night’s show proved that it’s just a matter of time. Decked out in a black-and-silver striped mini dress and white cowboy boots, and armed with a duct-taped Telecaster, Borges revealed a winning stage presence and showed off a voice even stronger and more flexible than her record had suggested.

The band kicked off its set with four tunes from its first disc, Silver City (issued in 2005 on Texas indie Blue Corn), then followed with a trio from the new one: “Lord Only Knows,” “Belle of the Bar” and “Lonely Town of Love”—the last delivered by Borges in a bluesy drawl worthy of Mick Jagger. Bassist Binky announced “Daniel Lee,” the single from the first album, as “a really big hit in our bedrooms.” The set included just about everything from both discs, including a pair of requests Borges was clearly pleased to honor.

Guitarist Mike Castellana—a Long Islander, it turned out—served up twangy riffs and heartsick pedal-steel arias. Rob Dulaney demonstrated that ultimate sign of a drummer not prone to grandstanding: mouthing the lyrics to many of the songs. And then there was Binky: bassist, backing vocalist, raconteur and all-around foil to the leader. His ability to play a one-note throb with one finger of his left hand while operating a long-neck with his right must surely be the envy of bassists everywhere; later, he used the half-empty bottle as a slide. His chemistry with Borges—including (but not limited to) rock-star stage choregraphy—put this gig over the top, even in front of one of those quiet, show-me NYC crowds.

It probably helped the band to have Josh, a young kid who knew the words to all the songs—even the new ones—sitting on the front row all night. (He was rewarded with a copy of the new CD.) And eventually, a handsome couple at the next table got up and danced through “The Day We Met” and a few other songs. It took every ounce of our composure not to join them.

You’ll have another chance to catch Sarah Borges and the Broken Singles on July 28, when the band opens for Kelly Willis at the Bowery Ballroom. Until then, head to her MySpace page to hear the band for yourself, check out this video for a taste of the live show, and tune into WFUV on June 20 for a live set the band taped while it was in town for last night’s show.

- Time Out New York

"The Stars Are Out"

In spite of the high-test country sound so prominent on their last record, at heart Sarah Borges and the Broken Singles are a rock band, and their latest record makes that explicit. The country side isn't entirely absent here; check out the mournful, steel-drenched take on the Lemonheads' "Ride With Me," for example. But it's underplayed in favor of scorching rock, from the Runaways tough-chick vibe of "Do It for Free" to the power pop blast of "Yesterday's Love," their Chuck Berry rock 'n' roll take on NRBQ's "It Comes to Me Naturally," and the garage-y "I'll Show You How." There's some infectious pop, too, highlighted by the rhumba-beat groove of "Me and Your Ghost," a marvelous, soulful version of the Smokey Robinson classic "Being With You," and, maybe the biggest change of pace, the sighing ballad "Symphony." "The Stars Are Out" is not so much a change of direction as of emphasis, and it's a perfect expression of the signature sass and spirit of Borges and her Broken Singles. - The Boston Globe

"Band Seeking Audience Willing to Leave Its Seats"

Should there be, sometime in the near future, a sock hop in need of a house band, Sarah Borges and the Broken Singles would like to apply for the position.
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Matthew Murphy for The New York Times

Sarah Borges at B. B. King Blues Club & Grill on Sunday night.

Granted, clean-scrubbed, 1950s-influenced rock is but one part of this gleeful young band’s repertory, which also includes rockabilly, vintage country, moody ’90s indie rock and girl-group pop. Still, this group delivers even its sullen songs with velocity, so that when Ms. Borges looked out on the dinner crowd at B. B. King Blues Club & Grill on Sunday, she couldn’t quite mask her glumness: “You’re all sitting down. How are you going to dance?”

Ms. Borges and her Boston-based band were opening for the Blasters, the longtime punk-influenced rockabilly outfit that is also no friend to a seated audience. But the modesty and calm of the room turned into an opportunity for Ms. Borges and her brood. After a slow start, in which the band was stiff, and Ms. Borges’s vocals were mixed impossibly low, the chairs finally got some competition.

In a sparkling black minidress and beat-up tan cowboy boots, Ms. Borges was a sharp frontwoman, with a warm, cheery voice that she wasn’t afraid to stretch, hissing some of her words on “Daniel Lee” and singing plaintively on “Stop and Think It Over.”

Released in 2007, “Diamonds in the Dark” (Sugar Hill), Ms. Borges’s second album and first with the Broken Singles, is fiery and charming, featuring an unlikely range of excellent covers of songs by Tom Waits, Canned Heat, X and Dolly Parton.

They skipped those here, though, sticking largely to originals. The band — the guitarist Lyle Brewer, the bass player Binky and the drummer Rob Dulaney — was consistently rollicking, and Ms. Borges wielded her guitar in muscular fashion, especially on a ferocious version of NRBQ’s “It Comes to Me Naturally,” from the forthcoming album “The Stars Are Out,” due next year.

Only in a couple of spots did this vivacious singer let the audience feel comfortable resting in its seats. “Modern Trick,” an airy, dry number about regret, was one of them. “I want to live my life in stereo,” Ms. Borges sighed, as Mr. Dulaney lightly tapped his snare with a pair of brushes:

When I want someone to turn me on

I can signal with my red light

When I want to, I can amplify

the parts of me you like the best

Just the same, I could equalize

the too-loud parts of the rest.
- The New York Times


Silver City (Blue Corn Music) 2005
Diamonds in the Dark (Sugar Hill Records) 2007
The Stars Are Out (Sugar Hill Records) 2009
Live Singles (self released) 2010
Radio Sweetheart (self-released) Winter 2014



To watch Sarah Borges strut and howl onstage is to participate in rock n roll communion, all glistening sweat and high kicks, soul-shaking and sassy antics. She's a modern-day retro spitfire, red lipstick curled in a smirk as she summons her six-string to conjure a host of fiery spirits, leaving a stunned and ecstatic audience in her wake.

This same raucous energy shoots through her fourth studio album, Radio Sweetheart, which is a statement of Borges future as much as it is a reflection of her past. Funded entirely by fans, the new album is a sea change marking a split from both Sugar Hill Records (the label that released her two most recent albums) and her longtime band the Broken Singles, all set in motion by a road weariness bred from six years of constant touring and the home-is-where-the-heart-is lure of brand new motherhood.

Nesting in with her husband and infant son, Borges wrote from a fresh perspective, composing in relative solitude in contrast to those years spent on the road. Alone with guitar and pen, Borges unearthed demos written in her teens and fell back under the sonic spell of the Boston-bred indie rock luminariesMorphine, Juliana Hatfieldthat marked her musical coming-of-age in the 90s.

To realize this musical shift, Borges turned to Steve Berlin, an admirer and longtime member of Los Lobos, to produce the new album. Recorded in a week at Bostons Woolly Mammoth studio, Radio Sweetheart is nine originals (plus a cover of Lloyd Prices Heavy Dreams) all imbued with lessons learned from a decade of rock and roll, countless miles spent on the road, and the range of emotions surrounding the dissolution of a band and the growth of a family.

In essence, the new album is just another step in the continual evolution of Sarah Borges. 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 affectation for Rodgers and Hammerstein and the guitar- and fuzz-driven spoils of 90s alt rock.

Borges played in her own fledgling indie rock bands in her teens and early 20s 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 the 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, kicking off a whirlwind of touring where Borges and her band opened for greats like Dave Alvin and Alejandro Escovedo.

Borges' second outing, Diamonds in the Dark, was released on indie label Sugar Hill in 2007, yet another deal garnered on the merits of a South by Southwest performance. With Kolderie once again at the production helm and her touring bandthe Broken Singlesjumping back into the fray, the resulting album again earned Borges a wide array of critical acclaim.

It was around this time that Borges began to resurrect those rock n roll roots you hear on Radio Sweetheartfirst in her live show, which more often than not found her straddling her guitar atop a table or surrounded by half the audience on stage, and then on her following album, The Stars Are Out, which was released in 2009 on Sugar Hill. While retaining the honesty of songwriting and sense of tradition that permeated her earlier releases, Borges bid adieu to the confines of Americana with free-spirited abandon and an almost punk-influenced grit and growl, a six-string salute from a woman who continues to defy classification and push musical boundaries at every turn.

Band Members