On her rocking new album, the Tauton, MA singer-songwriter engages in some thoughtful therapy
Artists, especially those who can boast of a certain profile and prominence, have a decided advantage over the rest of us.
While we ordinary folk have to deal with life’s traumas and frustrations personally and privately, those with the gift for being able to express their thoughts in song — and, of course, have the added advantage of being able to lure fans and followers willing to listen — are able to publicly vent their feelings, soak up the sympathy and become a popular spokesperson for those that share the same plight.
Artist: Sarah Borges
Album: Together Alone
Label: Blue Corn Music
★★★★ (4/5 stars)
Consequently, it’s hardly surprising that Sarah Borges turned her new album Together Alone into a personal statement about the trauma and tribulations provoked by the pandemic, a scenario that temporarily put her musical career on the back burner and forced her to take a day job simply to survive. Nevertheless, making music became therapy for her in a way, an opportunity to work through the isolation and insecurity while finding purpose and promise in their place. She accomplished that mission with resilience and resolve, as manifest through a series of songs that rock relentlessly throughout. Seven of the album’s ten tracks maintain that steady and sturdy motif, with a sound that’s driving, deliberate and emotionally infused.
The attitude is consistently clear, but especially evident on the title track, which finds Borges explicitly engaged:
“It’s the little things I’m missing/Now that they’re gone,” she insists. “Lines across faces and photos from places/Our shadows growing long.”
Those sentiments are also echoed in the opening track, “Wasting My Time,” a confession about the frustrations she’s found in dealing with the current dilemma. “It’s been a while now since I’ve seen my friends,” she laments. “Don’t know when I’m gonna see ’em again/Without them around/It’s harder to pretend that I know where I’m going.”
Other songs — “Lucky Day,” “Wouldn’t Know You,” “Rock and Roll Hour,” “She’s a Trucker,” and “You Got Me on the Boat” (the latter inspired by her experiences on a music cruise) — express a more resilient attitude, with themes that vary according to circumstance. Recorded remotely with the assistance of friend, mentor and producer Eric “Roscoe” Ambel and the support of members of NRBQ and the Bottle Rockets, they reflect the clarity and confidence Borges mustered while overcoming the fear and frustration brought on by the perils of the pandemic.
Does that make her a hero or a crusader for the common man or woman? Not really. What it does do however, is affirm that fact that Borges was privileged to have a platform and was able to use it through an opportune advantage. Nevertheless, given the rousing response she musters here, there’s something to be said for the inspiration she can impart to us all.
VIDEO: Sarah Borges ft. Eric Ambel “Lucky Day”