It’s been a very eventful year for Pharis and Jason Romero.
Since their first performance in Vernon in March, 2015, they had a baby boy, won a Juno for best Traditional Roots Album in 2016, and saw their livelihood literally go up in flames with a fire that destroyed the workshop where they build handcrafted banjos and other musical instruments.
“Kind of mind blowing,” is how Pharis Romero describes the past year. “Every single thing that we couldn’t foresee came about. Negative or positive, all of this absolutely incredible stuff that was almost unimaginable, happened to us in this past year.”
The Romeros will definitely have songs and stories to share when they perform for the Vernon Folk-Roots Music Society Sunday, April 9 at the Vernon Lodge and Conference Centre.
Tumultuous times often provide material for new songs.
“Oh man, I’ve written a whole album, already,” said Pharis, with a laugh. “I go through very prolific songwriting periods after I have babies. It’s like I give birth and then all of a sudden, I just seem to want to write songs.”
In the aftermath of the fire, Pharis and Jason were overwhelmed with the outpouring of support to help them rebuild.
“We just decided to keep moving forward by the grace of my amazing family, our incredible community, and the generosity of people from all around the world. We saw so much generosity from people we’ve never met and people we don’t know very well, but would like to. It blew our minds how caring and loving people were and that was the momentum to keep us moving forward,” said Pharis.
“It was a very intense emotional experience. It was crazy. We ended up having 20 people here for every meal through the entire summer. It was like feeding an army… Then when everyone left, it really hit us. All this huge emotional energy just started coming out and a lot it has come out through songs and music. So we’ve got most of an album written and we have plans to record an album this winter.”
Getting back to performing on the road is something the duo has been both looking forward to.
“This will be our first tour since the fire, since having a baby, and since winning a Juno. Jason will be bringing a new Out of the Ashes banjo, which he built from materials salvaged from the fire and I have a new guitar too. You can expect to see both of us just really happy to be back on stage playing music together. There’ll be a certain excitement for sure about being back on the road. We’re looking forward to sharing that energy with the audience.”
Tickets to see Pharis and Jason Romero perform live for the Vernon Folk-Roots Music Society, April 9 at the Vernon Lodge and Conference Centre, are $25 ($20 for VFRMS members), available at ticketseller.ca, 250-549-7469, Bean Scene (Vernon) or at the door, if available (cash only). Doors open at 6:45 p.m. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Beer, wine and food will be available.