Sarah Borges

Silver City

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It doesn't take long for Sarah Borges to capture the listeners' attention. Her first tune "All This Weight" pulls you in with its opening strains of a lonesome tremolo guitar, Borges' smoky voice purring "so tonight I'm feeling lonely baby" and then it all kicks into gear with a slap of drum and a whine of pedal steel. Borges keeps the momentum going strong through the next couple songs. The galloping country-rock of "Daniel Lee" recalls Maria McKee in her Lone Justice heyday. "Same Old 45," powered by big beat drums and crunching rock riffs, cleverly retells the story of Brandy (from the Looking Glass '70s AM radio hit) from her point of view. One of the Boston-based Borges' strengths is how she confidently takes on both rock & roll and country, sometimes in the same song. Tunes like the hardscrabble "On the Corner" and the bluesy, bitter "Six Feet Deep" balance some fierce guitar licks with heartfelt twang. Her country side proves particularly convincing when she slows things down on the introspective "Pious Proud," one of the numbers boasting the mandolin work of Jimmy Ryan, from her New England alt country forefathers the Blood Oranges. Borges also skillfully essays a couple of diverse cover tunes. She imbues Tommy Dorsey's "I'm Going to Live the Life I Sing About in My Song" with an alluring torchy twang, while "Mellow Doubt" (penned by Norman Blake from the power pop group Teenage Fanclub) gets a wonderful rootsy rock treatment. While the disc's second half is good, it doesn't sparkle as brightly as the captivating opening salvo. The record concludes with a pair of rather ordinary tunes, with the not quite powerful enough power ballad "Think of What You've Done" and a fun but lightweight country-billy romp "Streetwise Man." Still, Borges' first album is a winner. Silver City serves as a compelling calling card to the alternative country-rock world and establishes Borges as a performer to watch for in the future.

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