Oh, the things we do for love… and I do love Sarah Borges’s music. Last Sunday, she and her band, the Broken Singles, made their way to Jammin’ Java in Vienna, Virginia on her current east coast run. Though my predicament may not have been worthy of a Game of Thrones plotline, I nonetheless felt a sense of desperation, as I raced the clock, and New Jersey Turnpike, attempting to make the 6+ hour trip from Connecticut to Virginia in five hours.
Sprinting through New York and down the New Jersey Turnpike, I was heartened by the great time I was making. Sarah’s 7pm start time at first seemed daunting but as the DC Metro area grew closer, I thought to myself, “You got this.”
Then I hit Baltimore traffic. And that’s when it all seemed to go downhill. Insult was added to injury when I finally got to the Beltway and the minutes ticked past 7:00. I finally got home, turned around and rushed right out, arriving at Jammin’ Java shortly after eight, hoping against hope that she’d started late.
At the door I asked if I’d already missed everything and was greeted with a cheery, “She just finished her first set and she’ll be starting her second set soon.” My heart leaped and all was well with the world again, the roller coaster of emotions — hopefulness, confidence, dismay, resignation, and finally elation — already forgotten.
Opening the second set with the rocker, “House on a Hill” from 2018’s excellent “Love’s Middle Name,” (Blue Corn Music) I could tell I’d missed a solid first set. The Broken Singles are about as tight a band as can be, even when, as Sarah noted at one point, “I played a few wrong chords.” But she quickly followed that up by quoting her sometime guitarist and producer, Eric “Roscoe” Ambel, “As long as you start together and end together, it’s gonna be okay.”
Stream Love’s Middle Name by Sarah Borges on Spotify:
The set featured a smoking NRBQ cover “It Comes to Me Naturally,” and Sarah’s gorgeous take on Frankie Miller’s “I Can’t Change It.” Older Borges tunes like “Daniel Lee” and “Tendency to Riot” were sandwiched between new ones, “Girlie Book,” “Lucky Rocks,” and “Get as Gone Can Get.” The set ended with her customary killer version of the J. Geils classic, “Cry One More Time” and a Binky original (apparently an onstage audible replacing “Diablito”).
See Sarah Borges and the Broken Singles perform “It Comes to me Naturally” on Big Kev’s “Big Country Revue” on WXLV 90.3 FM, way back in 2009:
Sarah’s music is a roller coaster of styles, from rock and roll to blues, from country to punk. Yet a Sarah Borges show never feels rushed or disjointed. Sarah’s affable onstage demeanor and her hilarious between-song banter with Binky, her bassist, makes one feel like we’re just hanging out in someone’s living room listening to friends play music. Indeed, after the frantic day I’d had, I felt right at home.
Chatting with Sarah afterwards, she said tongue firmly in cheek, “Ah, don’t worry [about missing the first set], we do all the shitty songs in the first set and save the good stuff for the second.” Well, perhaps — but I sure won’t make that mistake twice.
Sarah will be on the road through September. Chances are you won’t have to drive six hours to see her either. Find much more on her website.
Here are some pictures of Sarah Borges and the Broken Singles performing at Jammin’ Java on Aug. 4, 2019. All photos copyright and courtesy of Mark Caicedo.