Nate BorofskyFinocchio Records 001
A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
On 500 Miles, Nate Borofsky tries one of the most difficult things a singer-songwriter can do: for forty-seven minutes, it's just the man and his acoustic guitar. Only one song features some background vocals. As a singer-songwriter, you would certainly need a stern belief in the value of your lyrics if you were to go on such a venture.
So the obvious question is: has Borofsky enough interesting tales to fill a whole CD?
His voice sounds a bit like he used to shape it by singing along with his favorite college radio station. This is not meant to be disrespectful, but truth is Borofsky has a rather limited vocal range---one actually could well imagine him singing in an indie band. Every now and then, one can't help wondering how this CD would sound if it had been more produced. Borofsky's guitar licks and melodies are the pure basis for his storytelling. Both are not meant to distract the listener from the words, but they still have their powerful moments. This seems pretty much the Borofsky that you get when you go to see him in concert.
Borofsky must do quite a bit of reflecting and contemplating in his spare time. Most of the songs are written from a personal point of view: either the thinking man sitting in his room or the thinking man driving in his car. The lyrics have an aura of immediateness, as if Borofsky sat down for twenty minutes and came up with several ideas comprising at least two completed songs. The lyrics, however, are well crafted; you get a vivid image of the people that fill his songs, very human and close to life. Often, it seems that his songs are inspired by stories right out of a film script for the slacker generation. It would be impossible to quote Borofsky with just a line, because one would have to jot down all the words of a song in order to appreciate the underlying irony and the humor that is present, even in his darker stories. The only tune that strikes a completely different bell is his Song For A Friend, which deals with what it feels like to lose someone close, to be left behind with the sheer incomprehension of it all. The feelings that Borofsky can evoke here are not unlike those that made Jackson Browne's ode to a dead friend, Song For Adam (from his first record), so sad and powerful.
All in all, this record bears marks of the first try. It was as if Borofsky was dragged away from a career as a street musician and was brought right into the studio. The recording is sometimes not very easy on the listener, as the acoustic guitar sound does not vary all that much. Adding a few more instruments and slightly higher production values would have made a substantial difference. While it's plain that there was little money involved, Borofsky did a fine job with 500 Miles, especially on the lyrics. Given time and money, he would have made an even better album.
| || |
Edited by David Schultz