Award-winning folkies do it again . . . beautifully

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February 28, 2013

Long Gone Out West Blues
By Pharis & Jason Romero (2013)
Recorded by Ivan Rosenberg; mixed and mastered by David Travers-Smith

Reviewed by Jessica Benini  

Long Gone Out West Blues is an authentic folk, roots and bluegrass album uniting traditional classics alongside timeless songs written and performed by Pharis and Jason Romero. This down to earth duo has made a home in the wilderness near the hamlet of Horsefly, BC, home of Pharis’s family for five generations. Not only do they make beautiful music, they also work as a team custom building J. Romero Banjos, a company Jason started in Northern California where he originates. Their music reflects their hard working and organic lifestyle, welcoming you with a laid-back sound of blended harmonies combined with Jason’s smooth banjo licks and Pharis’s thoughtful lyrics.

Traditional songs such as “Across the Bridge,” “Wild Bill Jones,” “It Just Suits Me,” along with Jason’s banjo version of the classic fiddle tune, “Sally Goodin,” are gracefully honored with their renditions. Pharis and Jason’s own songs such as “Long Gone Out West Blues,” “Sad Old Song,” “Come On Home, The Little Things Are Hardest In The End,” acknowledges loneliness while finding inner strength when life brings you down and leaves you with a positive feel. Escaping the weight of the world, your own fears and prisons, and finding rest in the stillness where there is nothing else but you and your thoughts.

One of my favorites is “Lost Lula,” an instrumental and tribute to their dog Lula that never came home, lost to the wilderness on some unknown adventure. It echoes a haunting call into the sunset.

Their previous album A Passing Glimpse, won New/Emerging Artist of the Year at the 2012 Canadian Folk Music Awards, as well as Americana Album of the Year at the 2012 Independent Music Awards. Long Gone Out West Blues is just as strong and fantastic for any occasion–whether you are sipping on homemade iced tea on a hot summer afternoon or in a cozy cabin drinking whiskey in the middle of nowhere. And it will most likely inspire you to buy a J. Romero banjo in support of this genuine couple and their passion for music.

 

Jessica Benini is a West Coast Folk singer/songwriter and voice, guitar & harmonica teacher based in Victoria, BC.

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