J.E. Borgen tours for disaster relief
Most people in the valley know J.E. Borgen for his subtle folk grooves and energetic, jam-filled shows. But behind the music lies a wish to help those in need. Borgen, along with Denver musician and ex-Dispatch member Braddigan, formed The Relief Project after the Asian tsunami tragedy of 2004. “We wanted a way to bring our music and the independent music voice forward in a way we could raise awareness and money for organizations on the ground to help children in disastrous circumstances,” Borgen said from his home base in Boston. “Music can be a really universal way to educate and bring people together in the aftermath of a tragedy.”The Relief Project raised $3,000 for victims of Hurricane Katrina, and subsequent efforts raised money to help aid victims of the Pakistan earthquake and refugees in Darfur, Sudan. All proceeds of the compilation CD “The Relief Project: Volume One” benefit the Relief Project, and Borgen and Braddigan organized a benefit concert at Irving Plaza in 2006.
“We got 19 artists to contribute tracks to ‘The Relief Project: Volume One,’ and we’re in the process of doing another for release this winter – maybe December,” Borgen said. “We’re also planning a big show in Boston at The Roxy with Play for Rights for later this year.”Borgen has been touring behind the strength of his well-received album “The General Store,” but he is eager to finish his next release, a stripped-down E.P. he’s in the middle of recording for release in August.”It’s more acoustic and raw – not as produced,” he said. “That said, I don’t think it’s any less endearing; it still encapsulates what I’m trying to do musically. It’s just lyric-driven and chorus-driven. You can hear the songs themselves coming out, and I’m really focused on that organic singer-songwriter vibe.”
Borgen once again will join a reunited Dispatch as a guitar tech for a Zimbabwe benefit concert, which drew headlines for selling out two nights at Madison Square Garden despite Dispatch’s relative mainstream obscurity. All proceeds will benefit charities that fight famine, social injustice and disease in the African country.Fans of J.E. Borgen know that if the mood feels right, the band can often go late into the night, jamming and playing multiple sets of covers – especially at Loaded Joe’s.”Loaded Joe’s gets crazy because we play into the night and interact with the crowd a lot – we’ll do one set of originals, then covers, then a few more covers, take a break and then just jam out,” he said. “We met a saxophone player in Carbondale, we told him about our show in Avon, and he just showed up and sat in. It was a great deal of fun. Friends in the audience come up, sometimes we have an open-rap thing. It’s really loose and just depends on what we and the audience are feeling.”
Between touring and recording, Borgen has a full schedule, but he always tries to keep the Relief Project at the forefront of his priorities. “I always try to carry some (Relief Project) CDs with me to sell at shows if I can,” he said. “It’s been a really rewarding thing to be part of.”Arts & Entertainment Writer Ted Alvarez can be reached at 748-2939 or email@example.com.
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