J.E. Borgen back to storytelling
AVON ” Bob Dylan sang his thoughts passionately and freely but never spoke of his political views outside of the arena, much to the dismay of his fans.
J.E. Borgen’s committed to singing ballads from the bottom of his heart, using his personal outlet as a diving board from which to leap to his platform. With the same raw feeling as Dylan, the soulful singer/songwriter wields his musical politicking off stage, but unlike the Dixie Chicks and minus the crucifixion, he takes a positive, pro-active approach to changing the world when he speaks out.
When Hurricane Katrina hit, J.E. or Jon Erik (pronounced Yan Erik; his father’s Norwegian), couldn’t watch the news another day without getting involved. He knew just the ticket, and realized the power of the microphone last fall when he and fellow musicians founded The Relief Project, a nonprofit promoting the welfare of displaced children affected by disaster, poverty and injustice.
“As an artist you have an unbelievable way to communicate with a bigger audience,” Borgen said. “We realized we could pick something that we cared about and use our music and our friends’ music to lend their voices and really just educate our fans about how they can help. The power of music can bring us all together in a way that’s positive and makes us cognizant of what’s going out there in the world.”
A sold-out concert at Irving Plaza in New York City Dec. 22 kicked off the release of “The Relief Project, Vol. 1,” a compilation CD featuring State Radio, Pete Francis, Braddigan, Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers, Kate Voegele, and of course, Borgen. Despite the city’s transit strike, more than a thousand fans came out for the five-hour concert that raised thousands of dollars and 5,000 pounds of food that were donated to the NYC Food Chair. With the funds, The Relief Project granted Save the Children, which benefited the Pakistan Earthquake Emergency Fund and Community Service Center, Inc of New Orleans, to provide assistance to ex-incarcerated individuals and their families.
During that time Borgen also managed to get married and complete his sophomore album, “The General Store,” on which he tours to Loaded Joe’s in Avon Friday.
Somewhere between Jack Johnson’s feel-good tunes and James Taylor’s mellow musings, Borgen’s new release offers a more creative, mature musical version of himself.
“The General Store is a concept,” Borgen explains. “Rather than a lyric, song title, or a line, the name represents the overall feel and expression of the collective songs on the record. From folk to rock, to jazz and backbeat, there is an array of influence and emotions within the music that can be found.”
Much like the eclectic musical influences found in the album, Borgen borrowed from the present and the past for lyrical inspiration on “The General Store.” The first gem, “Bring You Back,” draws you in like floating on a sailboat through the sparkling blue ocean staring up at an even bluer sky. It’s a beautiful ballad reflecting on helping a loved one get through hard times and re-emerge. It’s Borgen’s favorite track. “Waiting on My Soul” tells the tale of a relationship where the narrator just couldn’t give what the other person wanted. The result: When he sings Friday, you’ll want to listen.
A Colorado native who grew up racing for Ski Team Vail, the musician is no stranger to the Vail Valley. In fact, his two sisters live in Edwards.
“It’s always a homecoming,” he said, of returning to Vail. “I think people are excited to hear the album played live. The music speaks volumes, and now it’s time to translate it to the stage in a way that really maintains the sound of the record and the sound of the music overall.”
Staff Writer Laura A. Ball can be reached 748-2939 or firstname.lastname@example.org.