When Sarah Borges moved to Boston in 1995 to attend Emerson College, an early wave of indie rock defined the local music scene. The success of bands like Throwing Muses and Buffalo Tom influenced Borges' drive to perform, even if they didn't influence her musical style.
Since releasing her debut album in 2005, Borges, 31, has written a lot of songs high on country twang. That changed earlier this year. In March, Borges released The Stars Are Out, her third album and the first to fully embrace rock 'n' roll.
"This is a style of music I've always listened to, and been really excited about," says Borges, who performs with her band, the Broken Singles, at High Noon Saloon on June 10. "We always want people to dance. That's the best way to get a show going."
The Stars Are Out may showcase Borges' rock side, but the CD is no less down-to-earth than her first two albums. Blending accessible guitar hooks, polished production and big, sing-along choruses, Borges writes songs as rootsy as her bio.
She grew up in Taunton, Mass., 40 miles south of Boston. Her father was a mail carrier. Her mother was a teacher. Borges titled her first CD Silver City, reflecting Taunton's nickname and its history as a center of the American silver industry.
After forming the Broken Singles in Boston in 2002, Borges played hundreds of live shows in bars and roadhouses. Her 2004 appearance at South by Southwest in Austin earned her a deal with Houston's Blue Corn Records, the label that released Silver City.
Even so, Borges stayed employed as an admissions officer at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, working by day to pay for the privilege of playing music by night.
"Our live shows are the best part of being in a band," says Borges. "We're always looking for that unexpected opening, where you can give somebody else your guitar and go sing in the crowd, or get the whole audience up on stage. That's a liberating feeling."