Sarah Borges performs at Pearl Street Warehouse on June 28, 2022. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)
This one’s “about going home to your house you share with a loved you never want to see again,” Sarah Borges said about “House on a Hill” in her thick, unmistakable Boston accent. Sarah is very real, she writes great songs, she knows how to engage an audience — and that has won her a small but devoted following who gathered recently at the Pearl Street Warehouse in DC.
The Allman Betts Band performs at The Birchmere in June. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)
2021 saw a gradual return to live music as venues and musicians did their best to return to “normalcy” and keep everybody safe. Things didn’t always go according to plan: People still got sick, tours were canceled or postponed, and attendance to indoor shows still sometimes lagged.
Sarah Borges performs at Jammin’ Java on Dec. 1, 2021. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)
Sarah and her band, the Broken Singles, rolled into town recently, hitting the Jammin Java stage with Eric “Roscoe” Ambel for another of her typically rockin’ and quip-laden performances. Having seen Sarah previously, I was prepared for a seriously fun rock and roll show. This one, the first in our area since 2020, featured plenty of new additions to the setlist as she road tested a few new songs from her forthcoming release, Together Alone.
The year started out typically enough. But the way it began and how it’s ending are startlingly different. By the end of March, so many plans and hopes were dashed that now, as we race toward 2020’s conclusion, many of us feel they may never be realized.
Like so many others in this Year of Covid, I’ve had a chance to reflect, reassess, and reset for the coming year, sorting out what is, and isn’t, important. I enjoy photographing people, whether it be portraiture, cultural documentation, or musical performance. As a photographer, I strive to become invisible and capture moments as they are, not as I or the subject, would like them to be. Although photographing live music has been challenging as of late, I’ve been afforded the luxury of time to go through my archives and, as a result, have made a belated but important discovery: the final image must also render the photographer invisible.
Sarah Borges and the Broken Singles perform at Jammin’ Java on Feb. 21, 2020. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)
“Without further ado,” Sarah Borges declared in her clipped Massachusetts accent, “we’re gonna play the rock’n’roll.” With that, Sarah and her band, the Broken Singles, exploded into a fast-paced, crunchy, punk-inspired number at Jammin’ Java on Friday.
Sarah Borges and the Broken Singles perform at Jammin’ Java on Aug. 4, 2019. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)
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.
Last year, Sarah Borges released Love’s Middle Name, her latest album, via Blue Corn Music. She’s been touring incessantly since then, and Sarah Borges & The Broken Singles come around DC again for a show at Jammin’ Java on Sunday, Aug. 4.
Sarah Borges and the Broken Singles perform at Jammin’ Java on Jan. 25, 2019. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)
Sarah Borges’ third appearance in the DC Metro area in as many months is a clear indication of her thriving (some might say, rabid) fanbase in the region. Recently, Sarah tore through two one-hour sets consisting of tunes from throughout her career in a packed house at Jammin’ Java.
Sarah Shook fronts The Disarmers at Pearl Street Warehouse on Sept. 12, 2018. Mark Caicedo chose a picture from this show (but not this one) as one of his Top 10 of 2018. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)
Editor’s Note: This year, we asked our bloggers to name their Top 10 shows of 2018 or choose their Top 10 photos of the year. We will run them over the course of mid-December as our Best of the Year posts.
Women have long been major influences in music history, going back to the jazz greats like Nina Simone Billie Holiday, and Ella Fitzgerald; through country legends Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, and Dolly; pop icons like Bette Midler, Madonna, and Cyndi Lauper; and the rock and blues greats Janis Joplin, Joan Jett, Deborah Harry and Chrissie Hynde.
Today, while female musicians like Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Pink, and Adele continue to break boundaries, local and regional bands feature women whose talent, drive and influence is just as powerful as the superstars.
My Top 10 concert photos of the year salute 2018 as the Year of Women.