MusicFest Concert Series


The Cumberland Hotel

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BEST OF 2013 FOR LONG GONE OUT WEST BLUES

Canadian Folk Music Award – Traditional Singer of the Year
Independent Music Award nominee – Americana Album of the Year

NPR Music’s Top 10 Folk & Americana releases of the year
Folk Alley DJs Best of the year picks
#14 on Folk Alley’s listener-voted best of 2013 poll
Penguin Eggs’ #4 Album of the Year
Galaxie Folk-Roots Canada #2 most-played album in 2013
Folk-DJ (Canada & US) #2 most-played album in 2013
Americana UK’s Best of 2013
Uprooted Music Revue’s Favorite Audio of 2013
Richard Harris Folk & Blues Show Favorite Instrumental of the Year

Pharis & Jason released their second duo record, Long Gone Out West Blues, in early 2013. It is a record with an adventurous sense of simplicity and a refreshing veteran spirit in keeping with their love of songs new and old, connecting 1927 to modern days in a most wonderful way with vibrantly close duet singing, poignant songwriting, hand-made banjos, and old acoustic guitars. Garnering a Canadian Folk Music Award for Traditional Singer (and nominated for Traditional Album of the Year), an Independent Music Award nomination for Americana Album, and two Western Canadian Music Awards nominations, Long Gone Out West Blues was included on some high class Best of 2013 lists – including NPR Music’s Top 10 Folk & Americana releases of the year – and has been featured on NPR Music’s Favorite Sessions, Utne Magazine’s Monthly Music Sampler, and Folk Alley’s Hear It First. Their first duo record, A Passing Glimpse, earned them New/Emerging Artist of the Year at the 2012 Canadian Folk Music Awards, Americana Album of the Year at the 2012 Independent Music Awards, and and was included on many Best and Most Played of 2011 charts including Folk Alley, Folk-DJ, and Galaxie Folk-Roots. They have delighted in appearing on A Prairie Home Companion several times, the Vancouver and Winnipeg Folk Music Festivals, Pickathon, and performing and teaching engagments at venues across North America.

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It’s a typical story – where a matchmaker, some scratchy old records, a custom banjo and a flyfishing trip all conspire – leading 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 loved early country, old time, folk, blues, and bluegrass. She sent him a copy of the 1928 recording Tupelo Blues from Hoyt Ming & His Pepsteppers and… they married 2 months later. In 2010 they moved their home and the J. Romero Banjo Company north to the BC interior, to her hometown of Horsefly. In this way-out-there small place, surrounded by wilderness and good people, they build their finely crafted banjos, and play and write the music, new and old, that they adore.

Writing songs about ageless characters, hard lives, loss and love, Pharis’ songs have been played on radios around the world, and 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.

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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 up 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 went on to release 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 featured plenty of powerful duet singin over acoustic & National guitars, fingerstyle and clawhammer banjo. It was the 2012 Independent Music Award winner 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.

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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 February 2013 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.

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.