It’s been a long time coming, but the new Borrow Tomorrow album is done! I literally just got it, and I had to write about it. I don’t normally write album reviews, but on my way home last night I was listening, and just knew I had to talk about what this album means to me and what it makes me feel. The lyrics are so good; I dare you not to feel something listening to this.
I have been listening to these guys for as long as I can remember. I met Andrew, the drummer, years ago. I have even traveled with them north, south, and everywhere in between to help them sell merchandise as well as help them brand the band online. I have seen this album go from start to finish, and I know how much effort went into this. I know that this album means to me… but I know what this album means to the band too. They have poured so much time, energy, and effort into this release.
Earlier this year, the band lost a friend. Randall Trumbull, who played bass with BoTo for years, passed away unexpectedly. I was actually out of town when I heard the news and it still blows my mind that one day he’s here, texting me about his weekend and the next he is gone… when I opened the album, the first thing I noticed was that the album is dedicated to Randall. On the album it says, “You’ll forever grace the stage as a permanent fixture in our memories and in our hearts.” I have a lot of memories of Randall… I was so sad to see him go, but so glad that they dedicated the album to him. RIP Randall.
I could talk all day about the band. But let’s listen to the music, shall we? Below I talk about each song. I label the title, the length of the track, and my immediate reactions the second time through. I wanted to hear it first, without any thoughts of writing a review. Like I said, I don’t write a ton of these… I hope it does the quality of this work justice. Let’s rock people!
Sometime Back in the ‘70’s – 3:37
The album kicks off with a BoTo classic. One thing that I like about this band is their lyrics. That and I love Chris’ voice. This song is a great way to kick things off. They usually play this track live too. Have you seen BoTo live? They rock and pour a ton of energy on the stage night after night.
They poured a ton of energy into this album too. This has been a long time coming, and hearing them practice… hearing them live… and now, hearing them like this… what a payoff.
“I was a one trick pony forced into early retirement.”
Basement Song – 2:41
All of the songs on this album have a story. I have a personal rule that I don’t interview the same band twice… but I might change my mind with these guys. I want to know the story for EVERY song on this album. Speaking of that, maybe I should reach out and see if I can’t get that… sort of a press release, but the meaning of all the songs. Now you got me thinking.
This song is a good transition. “I thought I knew you best. Don’t know what you’ll say next,” is one of my favorite lines in the song. He actually says it a few times and it gets better every time he does it. The last is the tops.
“Waiting for the weekend, the hours take their toll.”
Brand New Start – 3:45
That is sort of what this band is looking for. They have been doing this for a long time, and now is their shot; potentially the last shot. These guys are not afraid to admit how much work went into this album. I had the chance to see them produce some of this, and to see what they had to work with, and the talent that is on these 13 tracks… they deserve everything they’ve got, that’s for sure.
“Too far to feel, the distance is much too great.”
How Could You Let Me Down – 3:42
Getting into the meat of the album, things here get a little peppy. One thing I like about these guys is their wide range. Chris has a voice that has so much depth. It’s a little bit raspy, but that’s okay… I like it. That’s WHY I like it. It’s different. It fits. Think Bruce Springsteen and Guster, tossed into a blender.
Another thing I like about this band is their progression. Each song starts low, slow, and subtly climbs. You can feel the emotion as each line passes. Live shows are the same way. Not every show is perfect; what band is?
“How can you let me down as the glass is crashing to the ground?”
Born With A Broken Wing – 3:29
This is a “feel good” song, if there is such a thing on this album. The lyrics won’t make you think that… but the instrumentals pep me up. When I hear these songs, I wonder about the heartache that had to have been felt to produce such honest lyrics. I also look for the meaning behind the words that are spoken. These tracks could just as easily be poems as they are songs.
“Sorry I’m the asshole for telling you the truth.”
Curtain Call – 2:55
This might be my favorite song on the album. When you grab the disc, you will notice that the CD itself has a curtain on it. It’s actually looking, from the stage, out at the Murat Theatre at the Old National Centre… with the curtain down. It’s red, with creepy shadows, and makes you feel nostalgic. Take the disc out, and you see what it looks like with the curtain up. The theatre is empty, but a song like this… the staple song in my eyes, says it all.
The song also, when listening to the lyrics, makes me think of that journey west. Imagine the bands that have come before them, doing just that… headed to LA toward something bigger, better. If and when these guys shoot a music video, I hope this is the song they pick.
“I’m headed west to nowhere at all.”
Figured Out – 3:17
Let’s slow down a second… take a seat behind the keyboard for a second. Chris also plays piano, and when they play live he always does a song or two on the keys. Songs like this make me see a packed stadium tour, with lighters in the sky. (People use cell phones these days, but still.)
As the album progresses, you wonder if a woman hasn’t inspired some of these songs. I say that in the best possible way… could the love, the heartache, and the struggles that Chris (or anyone for that matter, as all of these songs you can relate to) could have caused this?
“When I got it figured out, finally easing all of my doubts, tell me you will still be next to me.”
Last Day Blues – 4:06
Oh, this is a fun song. I have seen BoTo play a TON of live shows. When these songs start, I picture a time when I was seeing them live, whether at The Vogue or at the Hammerhead Bar & Grill… imagine a Friday night filled with hard-working men and women toasting to a week of long nights.
“Told her I would visit sometime in June or July.”
Nashville – 3:12
This song has meaning to the band… they spent some time in Nashville. As popular as LA is for live music, Nashville is loaded with singer/songwriters. Listening to a song like this makes me want to visit, going from bar to bar, meeting one performer after another. Funny thing is, I have never been to Nashville.
This song also has a good “live show” feeling about it. With the clapping and the strumming on the guitar, I wonder if they wrote this while in Nashville.
“Nashville, you’re slipping right through my fingers.”
Staring at the Sky – 2:43
Robert Newport is the lead guitarist for BoTo, and he might be one of the best I have seen live. His fingers can make a guitar just speak. Start Staring at the Sky and you can see what’s to come. Nothing beats a guitar solo from Robert. (If you catch them on a good night, he will have a bandanna on… again, making me think of early Springsteen.)
“Ain’t nothing left but scraps and bones.”
Annabelle – 3:55
As I listen to these guys, live and on disc, I try to find the perfect fit for a tour. I mean, that’s what bands do right? Tour. There will be a tour from this album, but who goes on the road with them as support? They opened for Augustana not too long ago, but are in another league. They don’t fit that hipster scene.
Earlier this year, they played with Bob Seger at Conseco Fieldhouse. That’s a good fit. Their fan base is wide, from teenagers to grandparents. I think that speaks volumes for the type of folks they can appeal to. Do you think Annabelle is real?
“There’s one thing that I know for sure, eyes as beautiful as yours.”
One Foot Out the Door – 5:40
This is the longest song on the disc. It starts with some heavy drums and a slick guitar… here comes Chris. Think old school rock ballad that gets you turning around the dance floor.
They mention Chicago in this song, another Midwest city that has a lot of meaning to these guys. They actually have a bigger following in the Windy City than they do here, in my opinion. They play places like Goose Island, and pack the house. It’s a summer sound, but one in which you can grab a girl, hold her close and just dance.
“Seems that the distance from Chicago back to home is always growing.”
Painted on the Bedroom Wall – 4:34
I am SO glad this song made the album. Originally I didn’t think it would… but this is the PERFECT way to end the disc. It starts out soft… almost creepy, and then the piano kicks in. Then Chris begins the poetic justice that he’s known for. I can just close my eyes, sway, and enjoy this song time and time again.
“I can’t go back. I can’t go back alone.”
I couldn’t be happier for these guys. The album turned out great. It looks good in your hands too. The photos on the album cover were all from the journey that these guys made along the way. It’s been a long time coming… and I can’t wait to see what’s next for these guys.