REVIEW: Sarah Borges “Together Alone”

Reviews

Sarah Borges – Together Alone

Some vocalists like Sarah MacLachlan are whispery, singer-songwriters like the late Judee Sill leaned into powerful poignant songs. A good gutsy female vocalist — Karen Dalton, or Genya Ravan can be intense.

Sarah Borges doesn’t have a tough center but has had a long career with a repertoire of emotionally resonant songs. She’s amassed a loyal following & it’s not surprising that though she had to work remotely to create her new 10-cut LP — the pieces did fall into place.

She succeeded under the production guidance of the redoubtable Eric “Roscoe” Ambel (guitars, tambourine/piano/12-string acoustic/slide guitar/percussion/Mellotron/strings/backing vocals & he even swept out the place).

Sarah Borges

 

Along with help from members of the bands NRBQ & the Bottle Rockets, the Boston-based Borges faced the same obstacles numerous artists did in the last 2 years. But many LPs have been made “remotely” in the past, or by tracking to pre-recorded takes. The Beatles White Album in 1968 was partially made when the Fab Four weren’t in the studio together. So, remote recording isn’t something entirely new. But the results I’ve heard have produced respectable songs.

Together Alone (Drops Feb 18–Blue Corn) started with Sarah (acoustic guitar) at home until Eric joined with his Brooklyn Cowboy Technical Services Recording Rig.

I tend to compare artists I review to provide a reference point for readers unfamiliar with who I’m writing about. Sarah’s first 2 songs were just great but then the sparkle of “Wouldn’t Know You,” took a swipe at my ears with a generous Lucinda Williams-type groove. It wasn’t Lucinda but Sarah nailed a satisfying approach with her own significance. It’s a great performance.

Eric’s mellotron appears on “Something To Do” & while it’s not Strawbs or King Crimson mellotron it’s a surprise since this tool is generally considered an antiquated system today. Ambel uses it so well.

In roots-Americana music electronics, synths, oscillators, cheesy Farfisa make believe organs, all have a cold sound. But the Mellotron, if used sporadically, adds majesty & presence.

Sarah’s a diversified artist; she tosses out well-conceived musical ingredients and Eric Ambel garnishes & puts them on a plate for consumption. “Rock and Roll Hour,” has a Sheryl Crow tone, but is sculptured wholly in a Borges style.

Good intonation, tone & phrasing to “She’s a Trucker,” a short commercial 60s type basic R&R structure. Sarah’s voice is engaging & while the songs aren’t big productions, they are impactful. Dark chocolate outside & brandy inside.

“Together Alone,” is rootsy, mournful in melody as Iris DeMent. Sarah’s voice attracts with uniqueness similar to Tom Waits, John Prine, Jimmy Scott, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, & Lyle Lovett.

She has individuality.

The 32-minutes include Keith Voegele (bass/vocal), Keith Christopher (bass), Rob Arthur (Hammond organ/clavinet/piano), with drums by Ryan Rogers, John Perrin, Phil Camino, Diego Voglino & Keith Robinson. Photo: Liz Linder. CD available @ https://sarahborges.com/

Enjoy our earlier interview, here: Interview: Sarah Borges on Album “Love’s Middle Name,” Emotional Vulnerability Wrapped in a Rock ‘n Roll Package

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