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Sarah Borges

A Conversation with
Sarah Borges

Sarah Borges: This last trip was probably the best time I've had in Nashville thus far. I hadn't spent an extended period of time there, and so we were there for about four days, so I kind of got a chance to explore a little bit.

Puremusic: Well, I would say that to an enviable and a laudable extent, you took the town by storm during that short visit.

SB: [laughs] Well, I certainly hope so. It's had some nice repercussions for us, and they were made even nicer by the fact that we'd been in a van driving so much of the time. So really, anything that shows that your efforts are coming to fruition is such a plus because it keeps you going.

PM: Yeah, because that's a very difficult way to live. I've been there.

SB: Yes. I'm glad that you know, then, without me having to sort of go into the details.

PM: Yeah, the very sorted details--especially of being the only chick in a band.

SB: It's true.

PM: The chick and the boss.

SB: Yes, that's another very true thing. And also I'm a fair amount younger than everybody else.

PM: Right. Yeah, you're a ripe 27, right?

SB: That's right.

PM: Jeez, that is young. Well, you really, really gave it to them right between the eyes at the Basement that night.

SB: [laughs] When we went to the show, I didn't really have a lot of expectations, because I have never done the AMAs before. I've been, but it's different when you play. And we had done that Sin City thing the night before, and I think we did an okay job of getting people to come to the show, but I didn't know how okay of a job we had done until I got there. There were a good number of people there. And a lot of them, I knew who they were and what their function was in the music world, and like that. And we knew the challenge going up there a little bit. We had a ball.

PM: That's the thing about a great little room like The Basement: if somebody decent is on the soundboard, if the band is really tight, and if they get the decibel level and the excitement right, you really can get, and you really did get, that memorable pressure cooker effect.

SB: Yeah. We have a place--it's funny, we were talking about it when we started to play--in Boston called the Lizard Lounge, actually in Cambridge.

PM: I've heard so much about it, but I've not yet had the pleasure.

SB: I like clubs that you go to and you're just transported. When you're there, it could be day, it could be night, you have no idea. You have no idea what time of year it is. You're just there watching a band. The Lizard Lounge is a basement venue, again, and it has a lot of like red curtains. We had our record release show there, and it was the same kind of feeling, just a dense packing of bodies, and it just has a good vibe.

PM: I mean, could you tell what I could in the audience on tune one? I said to the person next to me, damn, this chick is going to tear the roof right off the place.

SB: [laughs] Well, it took us a long time to find the stuff that we do that consistently works for us. You sort of have to get a show going. And hopefully, no matter what the venue or no matter what the circumstance, it's going to work out okay for you. So it sort of took us a while to get there. But the first part of the set is sort of front loaded for that effect. Like, "Here we go, let's bust it out of the gate." And then we sort of have a lull so that everyone can regroup, and then we have a little surge there at the end, too.

SB: Right, yeah, let's start with the battering ram, and then we'll climb over the walls.

SB: Yeah. And then lastly, we'll just blow them up.

PM: [laughs]

SB: So when I got to the middle lull, I had a moment of doubt there, I'll be honest with you. I had a moment of like, "Oh, we've lost them." But that's a delicate thing to take the audience through. And if it's a Saturday night crowd, sometimes they want to dance and have a good time all night. They don't have the patience for a sad song, or a little bit of introspection. It's rare that you find an audience that is with you every single song, but those people really were.

PM: And there was one point--I don't know if it was the middle lull, as you call it, or at the end where you were giving the audience the option of having another up-tempo song, or something sad, and I was clamoring for something sad, and people said, "No, no! Something fast."

PM: Yeah, I mean, that sort of is a good indicator where I was at. I couldn't tell what they wanted. So I decided just to ask rather than trying to guess. I'm home, now, I'm back in Boston. We played the last show of our tour on Sunday night in Chicago. And we played at the Old Towne School of Folk Music, which is beautiful venue. It's about a 450 person theater. We played with Dave Alvin, and Robbie Fulks hosted it, and it was part of his Secret Country Series.

PM: Right. I'm such a Fulks man. You and I were standing next to each other at his show just the other night.

SB: Yeah. I mentioned you to him, actually. We went out drinking afterwards. He's a great guy. And Dave Alvin, I'm in awe of him.

PM: Oh, yeah.

SB: I didn't know that there was going to be an interview portion at the beginning of the show. They sat us all on a couch, and we have a little chat, and it's in front of the entire audience, and it's taped for broadcast, so that was pretty funny.

PM: Really? Oh, that's the Secret Country setup, huh, the live interview in front of the audience. [laughs]

SB: Yeah. And it's everyone together, so it was me and Dave Alvin, fielding questions. And Dave Alvin is so cool. He always wears that red bandana, and he's always got the cigarette between his fingers. He wears the big boots. But where I'm going with it is it was another one of those nights where I felt like we did a good job of keeping the audience involved. And they were nice enough to ask us to play one more at the end of the night. And we chose a very somber, very sad song. And it went off aces. We really did a good job. So that's the flip side, sometimes it works out the other way.

PM: Right. It's nice--you can pull that off better in a theater than in certain kinds of clubs, for sure.

SB: You can, absolutely.  continue

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