Sarah Borges has a voice that you won’t hear on any reality television show. Its grit and unfettered rasp are such that they could have only originated from a woman whose path to musical excellence wasn’t paved by anything other than her own hard work and tenacity. As a punk-infused cross between Bonnie Raitt and the kind of soul-shedding Sheryl Crow used to do before she decided to soak up the sun, Borges carved out a niche for herself on the americana circuit by consistently churning out some of the most compelling outlaw country music this side of Lucinda Williams.
Her latest, “Love’s Middle Name,” is no exception, as Borges and her tight-knit band are in top form throughout each of the album’s 10 tracks. Eric “Roscoe” Ambel’s production and lead guitar work lend a raucous quality to the project that makes the entire thing feel as if it was recorded live right off the floor.
I caught up with Sarah recently for a brief chat about the record and her impending date at Buffalo’s Sportsmen’s Tavern on Oct. 13 promises to be a memorable one.
MNOD: What was your creative process like for the new album?
SB: I’ve always found that I work better with a deadline, so I was quite concentrated while making this record. I was involved in both the recording and the mixing, which meant that I was able to be really happy upon hearing the finished product. It’s very much a band project as opposed to just a solo release. I have Eric Ambel (founding guitarist for Joan Jett & the Blackhearts) on guitar, Binky on bass, who has been with me for more than a decade, and two drummers that I have toured with in the past. I think we were able to replicate how loud and exciting we are as a live act in the studio, and “House on the Hill” and “Lucky Rocks” are two tracks in particular that stand out for me. I love all of these songs so much, though, so I’m looking forward to finally showcasing them in front of an audience.
MNOD: How did you decide on the title “Love’s Middle Name?”
SB: The title actually came to me in a dream, so I knew that’s what the album would be called.
MNOD: Who are some of your influences as a singer/lyricist?
SB: Bonnie Raitt, Sarah Vaughan, and Chrissie Hynde are my primary influences as a singer. As a writer, I try to think about the story of a person almost like a TV show. I try to get into the character’s head and think about how they would act in the situation of the song. I also have songs that are either autobiographical or a combination of both fact and fiction.
MNOD: What can audiences expect during the upcoming live show?
SB: I think the songs will continue to get stronger and evolve as the tour rolls on, so the audience will be able to follow that development. The more you play a song, the more you begin to discover all the nooks and crannies where the band can change things up if needed. We all want to get that point as a band where each song becomes second nature. I love playing house shows where we can go into somebody’s home and share the music, but we’re playing anywhere that will have us. We were at the Sportsmen’s Tavern earlier this year and it’s definitely a cool hang.
MNOD: What are your goals as a musician moving forward?
SB: My goal has always been to sustain myself and be able to play the music that I love for a living. I have a seven-year-old son now, so that has impacted my outlook in a lot of ways. I really just want to be fulfilled creatively and continue to pay the rent.
Sarah Borges & The Broken Singles will be at the Sportsmen’s Tavern on Oct. 13 with The Bottle Rockets.
“Love’s Middle Name” is out Oct. 12 on Blue Corn Music