Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sarah Borges - The Stars Are Out

Walking the fine line between rock and country, Sarah Borges and the Broken Singles are a Boston-area quartet influenced by a wide range of artists from Hank Williams to Sid Vicious. I was able to catch the last show of their current tour and man do they put on one hell of a live show. Their fifth time performing in the Springfield area, this felt more like a celebration than a concert. After an introduction by the mayor the Broken Singles played for roughly two hours complete with witty audience banter and some scorching guitar solos in-between some great rockabilly music. Easily one of the best show I've seen in Springfield my metaphorical hat is off the the Broken Singles for their great taste in pop music history.

Sarah Borges (singer/songwriter/guitarist) leads this motley crew of rocking punk-cowboys made up of Lyle Brewer (guitar), Rob Dulaney (drums) and a fellow only refered to as 'Binky' (bass). The Stars Are Out is the Broken Singles second album for Sugar Hill Records following their critically acclaimed 2007 release, Diamonds In The Dark. While the last album could only be described as high energy country, the Broken Singles have veered more toward the indie rock persuasion on this outing. Although this seems to have angered many of their fans I for one love the new direction and can't wait to see where they go next.

Like the first album, The Stars Are Out is almost a 50/50 mix of originals and covers with influences ranging all over the place. The album starts with the great Joan Jett-esque "Do It For Free" pairing scorching guitars with smokey vocals. "I never forget what my mama said to me," Borges' howls, "when it's real love, you do it for free." This song is strait up 60's blues-rock, heavy with the chick-rock vibe of the Runaways. Country-rock is pared with some nice surf-rock riffs for "Me and Your Ghost", a nice track that showcases Borges' range as a singer/writer. Another gem is the dance grooves of "I'll Show You How", a great bar rock piece with some nice harmonica thrown in for good measure.

The later half of the album is made up of some very nice covers, including remakes of Smokey Robinson's "Being With You", NRBQ's "It Comes To Me Naturally" and the Lemonhead's "Ride With Me". I know some people out there might scoff at the word 'cover' but Borges does a great job making the songs truly her own, giving a different take on some classic tunes. In fact unless their really paying attention most listeners will be hard pressed to pick out which tracks are cover and which are the originals. My favorite song on the album is "No One Will Ever Love You", a very well done Magnetic Fields cover. Borges does a good job of holding on to the emotion of the original while adding some of the 'twang' the Broken Singles are known for.