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Sarah Borges

Radio Sweetheart – 2014 (Lonesome Day)

Reviewed by Andy Turner

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CDs by Sarah Borges

It's popular on social media to bash anything that becomes too popular, so you often see people who have problems with music crowdsourcing. Lame, greedy, not very artistic, not rock-n-roll, "digital panhandling," sad, etc. But if an artist in need has more resources in terms of fans than funds, and delivers on their promises, what exactly is the problem? For her first album since 2009 and first since the breakup of her band the Broken Singles, Sarah Borges seems to have put the more than $15,000 she raised from supporters (whose names take up a few pages in the liner notes for "Radio Sweetheart") to good use.

Produced by Los Lobos' Steve Berlin and engineered by David Minehan (The Neighborhoods, The Replacements), the album sounds great and is filled with worthy songs. She brought along one of the Broken Singles - guitarist Lyle Brewer, aka her husband and the father of their young child. Marriage, motherhood and the loss of her old band has not made Borges take a quieter path, as she rocks out often on "Radio Sweetheart" and dials down the twang. The sweaty, album-ending "Record on Repeat," co-written with Brewer and Lone Justice's Ryan Hedgecock sounds like a garage R&B number the Detroit Cobras might come up with if they knew how to write originals.

Propelled by Jim Fitting's harmonica, the Freedy Johnston-co-write "Mind on Me" offers plenty of bluesy swagger, and Borges turns to Lloyd Price for the lone cover, a wonderful, wailing take on Mr. Personality's "Heavy Dreams." There are more reflective moments too, such as on the dreamy title track and evocative follow-up "Big Bright Sun." Other standouts include "Think of What You've Done," which showcases Borges powerful, soulful vocals, "The Waiting and the Worry," with guest Terry Adams on piano, and the clever, hip-shakin' "Start Again."