As the summer travel season winds down here at Fiddlefreak World Headquarters, the time comes to buckle down and catch up on reviewing some of the lovely and wonderful new recordings that have piled up on my desk. First up: Pharis and Jason Romero’s new release titled “A Passing Glimpse” (Lula Records). I fell for this one immediately. With its low-key old-timey feel and a mix of original and traditional material, A Passing Glimpse delivers a mellow Sunday-morning buzz that falls somewhere between Gillan/Rawlings and Jenny & Billy. Close harmonies blend smoothly with guitar and banjo to create their warm, homegrown sound.
Jason Romero first came to my attention through his artisan banjos, and Pharis through her membership in her oldtime band Outlaw Social Club. After stints in Chico and Arcata, CA, Jason migrated northward though Portland and settled with Pharis in the remote outpost of Horsefly, BC, where they create beautiful instruments and music. Their previous releases include Shout Monah from The Haints Oldtime Stringband and Back Up and Push, an ambitious collection of fiddle tunes from sawyers all over the West Coast, previously reviewed here.
Chris Mateer just published an in-depth interview with the couple on his blog Uprooted Music Review. From that interview:
‘We didn’t really plan out complementary tunes on the album, but we both seem to have a sense of songs that needed learning or writing to fill what might have been otherwise a gap. A good example would be “My Flowers, My Companions, and Me” — that was the last song we learned before we recorded the album, because we realized that a vocal duet with just banjo accompaniment would be a great contrast to much of the other material.’
Here’s that song, and another. Hope you enjoy this listen!
LISTEN: My Flowers, My Companions, and Me
LISTEN: Where Is the Gamblin’ Man?