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Bio

Singing vibrant duets, writing deadly songs, playing handmade banjos and loving old acoustic guitars, Pharis & Jason Romero have a classic story. When a matchmaker, some scratchy old records, and a custom banjo led to their meeting in 2007, they quickly knew they were in for the long haul. They've since released five records - three as a duo - and toured across North America and the UK. They've been featured on NPR Music, CBC, Folk Alley, and many more, and have performed on A Prairie Home Companion (several times) and The Vinyl Cafe. They are passionate teachers and believers in many things folk, and their heartbreakingly harmonic live show is an ever-evolving and never-ending quest for good songs and beautiful sounds.

2015 brings their newest release A Wanderer I'll Stay, the latest in a string of critically acclaimed, award-winning albums. Raising a family while developing an ever-growing demand for custom J. Romero Banjos, Pharis and Jason have made time to carve out new songs - heartbreak to wilderness dwellers, gourd banjo instrumentals to hopeful refrains - and put their singularly recognizable stamp on old songs. Called "sublime" (NPR) and "brilliant" (BBC), Pharis & Jason's releases continue to attract audiences and radio play globally.


The Long Version...

It's a classic story. A matchmaker, some scratchy old records, a custom banjo and a flyfishing trip all led to to a meeting in 2007 at an old-time fiddle jam. She was living in Victoria, BC and he was living in Arcata, CA. Both had been playing music for decades, and both loved the early stuff. She sent him a copy of the 1928 recording Tupelo Blues from Hoyt Ming & His Pepsteppers, and they married 3 months later. In 2010 they moved their home and the J. Romero Banjo Company to the central British Columbia town of Horsefly (her hometown). Surrounded by wilderness and good people they build banjos and play music new and old, releasing three records as a duo - A Wanderer I'll Stay, Long Gone Out West Blues, and A Passing Glimpse - and two records with other folks.

Writing songs about ageless characters, hard lives, loss and love, Pharis’ songs have been played on radios around the world. She was called a “historical treasure” by the BC Folklore Society. On stage from a very young age with her family's country band, classically trained and country schooled, she was a co-founder of the award-winning and innovative roots-folk band Outlaw Social, releasing two celebrated albums from 2005 to 2009, before venturing out musically with Jason.

Jason was a fixture on the Arcata, CA bluegrass and old-time scene before coming to BC, and is deft in banjo styles from early fingerstyle to clawhammer to bluegrass. When not playing banjo, his resophonic and acoustic guitar playing is a distinct texture, melodic and percussive. His singing and his playing has been called both seductive and badass.

In 2008 Jason and Pharis started the Haints Old Time Stringband with fiddler Erynn Marshall and the later addition of mandolinist/guitarist/songwriter Carl Jones. Releasing their debut recording Shout Monah in 2009, SingOut magazine said “This is a very special recording, one that [we]’ll return to time and again. "They play and sing superbly" (fRoots), and Shout Monah was named one of the best banjo releases of 2009 (Banjo Newsletter).

In 2010 Jason and Pharis released an instrumental album of fiddle tunes, Back Up and Push. With nineteen west coast old-time fiddlers and Pharis and Jason's guitar and banjo back-up, it earned them the accolade "old-time duo of Canada" (Penguin Eggs).

2011 brought the release of their first duo album, A Passing Glimpse. A beautiful collection of songs - originals or lovingly sourced from old recordings - it set the stage for future duet recordings, with plenty of powerful duet singing over acoustic & National guitars, fingerstyle and clawhammer banjo. It won the 2012 Independent Music Award for Americana Album of the Year, hit #1 on the North American Folk DJ playlists, and won a 2012 Canadian Folk Music Award for New/Emerging Artist of the Year.

Their second release as a duo, 2013's Long Gone Out West Blues, found a new place in their songwriting, picking and closeness as a duet. It was featured on NPR Music's Favorite Sessions, Utne Magazine's Monthly Music Sampler, and in Folk Alley's Hear It First. It also brought a Canadian Folk Music Award for Traditional Singer and a nomination for Traditional Album of the Year, two Western Canadian Music Awards nominations, and an Independent Music Award nomination for Americana Album of the Year.

Their newest release is A Wanderer I'll Stay. Now raising a family while sustaining on an ever-growing line of custom handmade banjos, Pharis and Jason have carved out new songs - heartbreak to wilderness dwellers, gourd banjo instrumentals to moaning refrains - and put their singularly recognizable stamp on some beautiful covers. With instrumental guests on fiddle, bass, pedal steel and even drums, it was recorded by David-Travers-Smith at their home in Horsefly.

Pharis & Jason's releases continue to attract audiences and radio play globally. Their delight in making music for music's sake no doubt contributes to the joyful lack of pretense in their albums and performances and to the rapidly-growing fan-base for both.

Performance highlights include several appearances on A Prairie Home Companion, a tour with The Vinyl Cafe, the Winnipeg, Vancouver and Edmonton Folk Music Festivals, Celtic Connections and Pickathon. When not building or performing, they also spend much of their year teaching at music camps and workshops including Voiceworks, BC Bluegrass Workshops, Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, Fiddle Works, 108 Mile Bluegrass Camp, Georgia Straight Guitar Workshop, and others.

Discography
Pharis & Jason Romero - A Wanderer I'll Stay (March 2015)
Pharis & Jason Romero - Long Gone Out West Blues (February 2013)
Pharis & Jason Romero - A Passing Glimpse (July 2011)
Jason and Pharis Romero & Friends - Back Up and Push (July 2010)
The Haints Old Time Stringband - Shout Monah (May 2009)
Outlaw Social - Dry Bones (2007) (Pharis' earlier band)
Outlaw Social - a seven song e.p. (2006) (Pharis' earlier band)

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Press & Radio

For a wanderer i'll stay

NPR Music's Best Songs of 2015 (so far)
#1 Album, song & artist - April 2015 FOLK DJs across north america
#1 song - March 2015 FOLK Djs
NPR Heavy rotation - 10 songs public radio can't stop playing

sung with sublime vocal harmonies that blend and intertwine effortlessly.
- NPR music - songs we love

5 stars. A very fine album. 
- the telegraph UK - best country albums of 2015

their third duo record is perhaps their strongest yet. their warm sepia tone has no artifice: it all rings true.
- froots

4.5/5 stars. This is a stunning acoustic folk recording.
- lonesome road review

a knack for writing simple songs with beautiful lyrics and addictive melodies.
- The Bluegrass Situation

For old time country all roads lead to romero.
- songlines

SIGN. ME. UP... The duo brings new life and passion to a classic folks and Americana... The Romeros welcome you into a timeless world and make you want to stay. 
- postmedia news - big releases

4/4 stars. There are inevitable comparisons with Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, but this couple deserve to make their own headlines.
- The Daily Express (UK)

Seriously. What more could you ask for?
- Folk Alley - Hear It First

8/10. There's easiness in the way that Pharis and Jason Romero sing together, but it's elsewhere, too — it's in the fluid and breathy interplay between his banjo and her guitar playing... they are on a roll; a steady, slow, deeply traditionally grounded roll. 
- Exclaim!

The only downside to the major triumph that is A Wanderer I’ll Stay is that the record is going to create the kind of festival-circuit demand that will make downtime in Horsefly nothing but a fond memory.
- the georgia straight

9/10. spine tingling beauty of the human voice and a simple set of strings.
- Americana UK

Brilliant - I could listen to this all night long.
- Frank Hennessey, BBC radio wales

spectacularly beautiful music... deceptively simple-sounding songs that are actually rich with subtlety... Every library with a pop or folk collection should own this album.
- cd hotlist

They’re complex and thoughtful lyrically and, wow, you just have to hear the vocals to believe them.
- Twangville

arresting and memorable.
- Now Toronto

5/5 stars - album of the month. a masterpiece!
- flyinshoes review

a delicious little nugget of an album.
- folk radio UK


For Long gone out west blues

Their chemistry is undeniable, and the song feels like it's been rolling along a dusty plain out west for decades, just waiting to be picked up and sung.
- NPR Music - Favorite Sessions

Anchored by Pharis's rock-solid rhythm guitar and propelled by Jason's inventive picking on a variety of banjos and guitars, their plaintive voices and soulful blend capture the ear and the imagination.
- acoustic guitar magazine

With effortless harmonies, intricate finger-picking, and a refreshing veteran spirit, Pharis & Jason's second album displays a startling prowess.
- UTNE Reader

Powerful close-harmony singing, bright solo vocals by Pharis, precision picking, and a lonesome, laid-back vibe, make this perfect for close listening, but also for playing in the background of your daily life.
- the huffington post

… effortlessly evolves tradition with innovation. Meanwhile, high watermarks like "Lost Lula" simply defy categorization.
- CMT EDGE

"This is a singin'-and-strummin' record from start to finish, with guitar and banjo encompassing the whole of the sonic palette. Fortunately, the musicianship is up to the task..."
- Pop Matters

A spirit emerges, clearly plucked from deep within obscure field recordings. From Pharis' thoughtful, creative originals to classics like "Sally Goodin", you might be hard pressed to determine what's old and what's new.
This is music made on a timeless continuum...
- Folk Alley

... wonderful, achingly beautiful harmonies. it's all perfectly judged, precise but never flashy picking, tangible chemistry and warmth between them and grade a songs.
- Maverick Magazine

The playing and singing is never showy or flash but pitched at exactly the right level and the results are classy and subtle and put others in the shade. It's the difference between single malt and a blend. Nothing wrong with blends but given the choice...
- americana uk

The whole is always greater than the sum of its parts, with that certain magic smoldering when their twin voices wrap tightly around each other.
- Bluegrass unlimited

think Gillian Welch but earthier — and they do it very well.
- The BC Province

wonderful.
- Frank Hennessy, BBC Radio Wales

songs of rare beauty and tenderness.
- Penguin Eggs

Authenticity rings true in every note, while the lyrics evoke lonesome tales from back then and right now. Pharis and Jason Romero could well be the future of a bygone sound.
- Herald Scotland

record of the week... has raised the roots barn door ever higher... a superb collection of self penned and tradition songs worked up in the warmest old timey style we have heard for some time...perfect harmonies and darn good picking.
- House of Mercy Radio

Their music thrives on its roots but also gives life to the new shoots on the branches of the future; this album assures us that the tree still flourishes.
- Folk Words

lovely, warm and engaging.
- BBC Radio Ulster

INTERVIEWS

acoustic guitar magazine
CMT Edge
Georgia straight
Uprooted Music Revue
The Bluegrass situation


For A Passing Glimpse

Completely and absolutely beautiful - just great.
– Frank Hennessy, BBC Radio Wales

Quite simply it would be a crime if this album were to linger forever in a banjo music backwater - it must surely be a contender for the North American folk album of the year. 9/10.
– Americana UK

The album is warm and honest. I can’t keep it out of my player. 
– CBC Music

... a record that is further proof that the epicenter of Appalachian mountain music may very well have moved to the Pacific rim. 
– Driftwood Magazine

... an album that just might convince you that a little heartbreak is beautiful. I haven’t heard anything closer to the lonesome feeling evoked by Charlie and Ira Louvin. 
– Penguin Eggs

... a gorgeous, ethereal set that is powered by its restraint. Pharis and Jason thus manage to sound fresh and old simultaneously, connecting 2011 to 1927 in a most soulful way.
– Art Menius

... a triumph of melodic and harmonic simplicity.
– Aberdeen Voice

With songs that are deceptively simple, their voices blend in harmony and hover in the air before taking up permanent residence with the listener. 
– Folk Alley

"Wow! Every so often you’re introduced to an act that bowls you over. Pharis and Jason have perfect, yearning harmonies, classic song-writing (and great song selection), deceptively simple, deeply-satisfying arrangements and a warm and natural sound that makes you think they’re in the room with you - all adorned with little twists and turns that grab your attention all over again."
– Sandy Semeonoff, Celtic Music Radio

This is by far one of the best Folk albums I have heard all year. Listening to them is a pure joy.
– Christine Linde, KBCS

Pharis and Jason sing like birds and play wonderful old time music. Listening to their recording, I hear a banjo and a guitar, and imagine these two sweet and talented people opening the door to their cozy home in the wilds of British Columbia. The wind howls and the rain drives outside, but inside is a warm fire and a music from the true vine.
– Tim O'Brien

Pharis and Jason Romero have that duet sound that I love; the close, tight, enmeshed harmonies, so that sometimes you can't tell who's doing what—but you don't care. It's the whole that creates the feeling and gives you the chill bumps. Great songs and spare, tasteful accompaniment. I loved it.
– Alice Gerrard

I like this CD a lot. It makes me think of the music I grew up on back in Kentucky. Great songs, and some really great playing too!
– Ricky Skaggs

Complete list: Reviews & Interviews for A Passing Glimpse
Folk Alley
Americana UK
Driftwood Magazine
Bluegrass Today
Penguin Eggs
Art Menius
Bluegrass Unlimited
Fiddlefreak
Songs:Illinois
Uprooted Music Revue (interview)
Folk Words
Northern Sky Music Magazine
Flyinshoes Review
R2 (Rock’n’Reel) Magazine
Aberdeen Voice
Common Folk
RecordDept
Bearly Rambling
Fatea Records
Scotsman
Lonesome Highway
Beat Surrender
Black Diamond Show,WNHU (interview)
Maverick
CBC Music

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