What’s better for a bluegrass and folk enthusiast than handcrafted banjos made out of gourds and specially selected wood? Hearing them played by the people who made them, especially when those people also happen to be one of B.C.’s most beloved folk duos.
The Vernon Folk-Roots Music Society presents Pharis and Jason Romero in concert at the Best Western Vernon Lodge, Friday, March 13.
Vernon will be the first official stop for the duo from Horsefly, B.C., after the March 3 release of their eagerly anticipated new album, A Wanderer I’ll Stay.
The duo has just returned from an extremely successful overseas tour, as well as some busy stopovers throughout B.C. and Alberta, performing with Stuart McLean’s Vinyl Café tour.
Critically acclaimed musicians on their own, Pharis and Jason paired up on stage and in real life in 2007. Getting hitched, they say, was like destiny (in this case, a matchmaker) tossed them together. Destiny or match-making aside, it was clear that these two, with his renowned luthier skills, accomplished finger-picking, and vocals, together with her world famous voice, playing, and stage presence, would make musical history together.
This power couple now combines Pharis’ smooth rhythmic guitar with Jason’s time-perfected banjo playing in a careful backdrop of age-old, lyrically harmonized stories of love, loss, and the unforgettable tales that are spun in the secret life of the backcountry and beyond.
And that backcountry, which is Pharis’ hometown of Horsefly in the Cariboo region of B.C., features prominently in the tales and melodies on A Wanderer I’ll Stay.
When asked where she draws the most inspiration, Pharis says, “Our town. Where we live is quiet, so we can relax and be creative, but there are also local characters around that are a great source for our stories.”
Inspired by nearby characters who have twined their way into everyday life or local legends, the Romeros have crafted songs in the old way of folk storytelling, with a fresh infusion of modern vision.
But people and location aren’t the only place where inspiration can be found, as Pharis can attest. The most peculiar place she has been struck by the muse was when she was cross country skiing and began to have anxiety about a cougar that was too close for comfort. The rhythm of her skis and the mantra in her head of “I want to be lucky and not see a cougar today” transformed into the rhythm and melody of one of her hit songs, I Want To Be Lucky.
It is clear listening to the new album that the Romeros have grown musically together in such a way as to create a masterpiece of soulful bluegrass. From traditional ballads to blues driven and swinging tunes, the duo have crafted music that evokes the old soul of Americana.
“We have spent so much time working and playing together that now we are able to draw confidence from each other’s skills, and the music now comes from such a natural place when we play together,” said Pharis.
Opening for the Romeros will be Vernon’s own folk/jazz/contemporary quartet Sorella.
Based out of Vernon and Armstrong, this group of four musicians is excited to set the stage with their lively and engaging show. They are known to weave their humour and natural musical talent into either fun and uplifting or bittersweet songs brimming with authenticity.
The concert at the *Best Western Vernon Lodge’s #1 ballroom starts Friday, March 13 at 7:30 p.m. Doors open at 6:45 p.m. and tickets are available at www.vernonfolkroots.com, at the Bean Scene in Vernon, or at the door.
*Please note the venue has changed from the Elks Hall to the Best Western Vernon Lodge since the original tickets sold for this show. All sold tickets will be accepted at the door.