Pharis & Jason Romero
Vintage & newly minted folk, steeped in the sublime & powerful simplicity of a duet.
Pharis and Jason Romero bring vibrant duet singing with guitars and hand-crafted banjos from their Horsefly, BC home. They move from spacious, almost ethereal, old time folk songs to powerful country blues, with stories, an easy rapor, and a feeling that you’ve known them a long time.
Pharis & Jason Romero’s story is a classic. A matchmaker, some scratchy old records, a custom banjo and a fly fishing trip conspired to a meeting of the two in 2007. They married three months later, and moved lock, stock and banjo workshop to Pharis’ hometown of Horsefly, BC. When not performing, together they run the J. Romero Banjo Company, serving custom banjo clients around world including Ricky Skaggs, Jerry Douglas, and Martin Simpson. They play their own hand-crafted instruments or prewar acoustics on stage and on record, and the combination of these artisanal creations with their two voices is a rare and applauded one. The Romeros have released two critically acclaimed and award-winning records as a duo – A Passing Glimpse and Long Gone Out West Blues – and multiple releases as members of other bands. On this highly anticipated new recording, A Wanderer I’ll Stay, their voices once again meld as effortlessly as their instruments, coming together on an instinctual level that enlivens the mind and enraptures the heart.
Spending so much time immersed in folk traditions, both Pharis & Jason Romero have a wealth of knowledge to draw from. "The Dying Soldier" is a civil war-era ballad from banjoist Buell Kazee, "It’s A Sin To Tell A Lie" is from a 78rpm of old-time crooner Riley Puckett, "Cocaine Blues" was the first cocaine-related song recorded, and "Goodbye Old Paint" came from a 1942 Alan Lomax recording of Texas cowboy Jess Milton. But the real focus of A Wanderer I’ll Stay is on their original songs. The past year has seen Pharis writing some of her best and most varied songs: from a contentedly restless wanderer in the title track, a spurned-yet-hopeful lover in "There’s No Companion", to the sad drive after leaving someone you once loved in "Lonesome and I’m Going Back Home". Pharis and Jason also write striking songs together on this record, with "New Lonesome Blues" presenting as a vintage revival-feeling banjo tune with an impassioned pleading refrain, and they sing in duet to tell the life story of a local man who was eaten by a bear in "Ballad of Old William".
Instrumentally, Pharis and Jason draw deep beauty out of the wordless subtlety of their playing. Jason’s sublimely beautiful banjo carries two of his original gourd banjo songs inspired by their one-year old daughter – "Backstep Indi" and "Old September". His finger-picked guitar work (sounding more like flat picking) percusses and weaves over Pharis’ spaciously rock solid rhythm guitar.
"A Wanderer I’ll Stay" has that feeling of a record made with great intention. It was recorded in the Romero’s home banjo workshop in Horsefly by David Travers-Smith (The Wailin’ jennys, Ruth Moody, Oh Susanna). Notably, it is the first of Pharis and Jason’s recordings to bring in other musicians: Josh Rabie, John Hurd and Brent Morton traveled to this remote part of BC to record fiddle, bass and drums, and Marc Jenkins’ pedal steel was layered on from a studio in Victoria, BC. Surrounded by old friends they arranged songs, ate food, and played music for joy’s sake when it wasn’t being recorded.
2013 Canadian Folk Music Award – Traditional Singer
2013 Canadian Folk Music Award nom. – Traditional Album
2013 Western Canadian Music Award nom. – Traditional Duo/Group
2013 Independent Music Award nom. – Americana Album
2012 Canadian Folk Music Award – New/Emerging Artist
2013 Independent Music Award – Americana Album
“SIGN. ME. UP. The duo brings new life and passion to classic folk and Americana.” – The Province
Booking inquiries - Email: Frank Hoorn/Near North Music Phone: (250) 847-5228