Bottle Rockets with special guest Sarah Borges
Imagine for a moment that the survivors of the Lynyrd Skynyrd plane crash in 1977 had decided to keep going and had replaced Ronnie Van Zant and Steve Gaines with The Clash’s Joe Strummer and Mick Jones. — Paste Magazine
Since the mid-1990s, Bottle Rockets bard Brian Henneman and his shifting ensemble of compadres have been crafting heartland epics within a rock ‘n’ roll framework, that spill beer and stir the heart on impact. — NPR Music
When The Bottle Rockets hit the scene in the mid ’90s, the world wasn’t quite sure what to do with them. With their punk-rock pedigrees and arena-rock energy, their tougher-than-Springsteen storytelling and their romantic hearts sewn bare on their denim sleeves, the pride of Festus, MO confounded musical generalities as they laid waste to clubs across the Midwest and then, soon enough, the nation.
Back in a time when the critical language and resulting idioms for mixing underground rock with country was in its infancy, The Bottle Rockets were fearlessly — and quite loudly — playing rootsy weepers alongside howling rave ups, with singer/guitarist Brian Henneman (who paid some dues as a roadie for Uncle Tupelo and playing on their March 16-20, 1992 album and Wilco’s debut A.M.) leading the charge as some sort of Roger Miller of the indie set. It’s a sound propped up (and hopped up) just as much on the pillars of Leslie West & Mountain as it was on those of the Ramones and the Clash.
Until every regular guy gets a fair shake, the songs and sentiments of the Bottle Rockets will never get stale. The band, and their sound and their message, goes beyond a time or a place or a fad. The Bottle Rockets are true folk music, albeit it with beards, biker wallets and a lot more muscle.
As rock phenoms go, Sarah Borges has never been easy to pin down. Since bursting onto the national scene in 2005 as the lead singer of the Broken Singles, she hasn’t allowed a speck of dust to settle on her sound or her story. Instead, the Massachusetts native has just kept on moving and shaking.
She’s gone from frontwoman to solo act, to frontwoman again. She’s deftly navigated the weird road that winds from emerging artist to veteran performer. She’s made seven records and racked up countless touring miles. She’s collected shiny things, including an Americana Music Award nomination, multiple Boston Music Awards, and song credits on TV shows Sons of Anarchy and The Night Shift. Bands like Los Strait Jackets and Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys have brought her out on the road with them. Cowboy laureates Steve Berlin and Dave Alvin have lined up to collaborate with her.