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Sep 12, 2010

I think every band pretty much has that one word or phrase that sums them up when someone asks you to describe them: crazy, parting, virtuosic, heavy -- I'm sure wordsmith and Scrabble master Robert Newport can come up with a few more-creative ones. The word that one hears most-often when discussing this week's guest, Borrow Tomorrow, is "honest." This isn't to say the music isn't fun, enjoyable, or any of those other things, but it does bring to the forefront a quality that, while not unique to BoTo, is not necessarily present in every band we meet. Sure most of the guys we have on the show are nice, pleasant, and down-to-earth, but so many of them -- unconsciously or by design -- separate their personal lives and real personalities from their stage personae. Okay, that sounds a bit dodgy, but it's not necessarily a bad thing, or even a "dishonest" thing. Most people won't call John Mellencamp a fraud for singing about the plight of the farmer or the working man, even though realistically we know he hasn't worried about how he's going to pay his electric bill for at least thirty years now. He's simply a storyteller who, like BoTo, is writing songs that he knows his audience can relate to. It does, however, make you take notice of those bands whose music serves as a direct extension of their own real-world experiences, thoughts and feelings the way BoTo's music does. While there is a running gag in the interview about what "the Indiana sound" must be, I was serious in my conviction that, if it does indeed exist, it is embodied by bands like BoTo and a few others who create music that is a blend of many different regional styles -- Chicago blues, Detroit blue-collar rock, Nashville country, Memphis rockabilly, and so forth -- but at its core puts sensibility and honesty over shock tactics, rough edges over synthesized perfection, storytelling over repetitive hooks, and for the most part points a middle finger at the corporate cookie-cutter image and sound -- in a polite way though; this is Indiana, not New York.

As a band, Borrow Tomorrow, seems to be on a pretty solid foundation. They mention the strong friendships (and family ties) within the band on more than one occasion, and give nods to their fiercely loyal and growing fan base. Musically, as they are finally moving away from writing songs individually towards collaborating as a group, their sound has refined itself into something greater than the sum of its parts, managing at the same time to be fluid enough to allow them to churn out tracks that, as the selections in this episode show, are drastically different from each other in style and tone, but have a unifying core and sound that is unmistakably BoTo. We wholeheartedly recommend picking up both of their EP's and anxiously await the release of their first full-length CD in the coming year.

Links referenced in the show: