Sarah Borges: The transition from alt country to pop rock

This story originally appeared in the Summer 2009 issue of Limelight Magazine

By GEORGE AUSTIN

If you knew the music of Sarah Borges and the Broken Singles before, you would think of alt country and Americana. But that is not what her latest album sounds like. Borges and her band have gone toward a more pop rock genre.

“This new record has a lot less country,” Borges said. “There’s a lot less pedals and steel guitar. It sounds like our band and it definitely sounds like us, but there’s no pedal or steel. Even taking that away lends a different sound to it.”

Borges said the band decided to go a different direction on the album, called “The Stars Are Out,” because when she and the Broken Singles toured, they saw what worked well. Their performances are very energetic and they wanted to reflect that on the CD. And so far, it seems that trying to translate the live show to the recording has worked. Borges said the album has done really well and the band is playing a lot of shows behind it.

The song “Do It For Free” has gotten radio play. Borges wrote about creepy men in bars.

“There’s so many men songs written about women, so I decided to turn it around a little bit,” Borges said.

The album has five original songs and five covers. There’s a Smokey Robinson song on the CD called “Being With You.”

“That’s a song a lot of people know, but we did our version of it,” Borges said. “We’re so excited to be showcasing that one, too.”

Borges had grown up in the small city of Taunton in southeastern Massachusetts, not exactly the music capital of the world, but it was a close knit place where the high school had a great drama program. She was in theater and the choir at Taunton High School where she graduated in 1995. Borges started playing guitar as a teenager. At 16 years old, she started playing in bands.

“My parents listen to a lot of classic rock and Bob Dylan,” Borges said. “When I got older, Boston had a vibrant music scene, so I went to see a lot of college rock bands, like Buffalo Tom and Morphine, on the weekends.”

Borges said her musical influences include Bonnie Raitt, The Grateful Dead and The Rolling Stones.

“And I like a lot of new music, too,” Borges said. “It depends on the day.”

Borges studied radio at Emerson College in Boston where she graduated in 1990.

“I knew I wanted to do something with music and be close to what I love to do,” Borges said.

After graduating from Emerson, Borges played in various bands in Boston before meeting the members of the Broken Singles who she hit it off with. The members of the Broken singles include guitarist Lyle Brewer, bassist Binky and drummer Rob Dulaney.

“I think our personalities really were complementary,” Borges said. “We had a good time hanging out, which is really important since we spend a lot of time hanging out together.”

Borges has played at the famous South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas five times.

“It’s really just sort of a mecca for people in bands,” Borges said.

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