Review Archive

‘Long Gone Out West Blues’ - the new album from Pharis and Jason Romero

(March 12, 2013)

Here’s another slice of exceptional, top-draw American ‘traditional’ folk - ‘Long Gone Out West Blues’ - the new album from Pharis and Jason Romero. Once more their delicious harmonies tightly embroider Long Gonea tapestry of unbeatable banjo picking but there’s a definite change underway. The first change you notice is a measured feeling of presence and evolvement about their music, the second is the increased depth and maturity of Pharis as a songwriter - for lovers of American folk this is a must.

As always, they perfectly blend traditional with contemporary. It matters not if they’re building new songs around traditional themes or fashioning their own take on old songs the result is a pure as mountain spring water – and possibly even more invigorating. The album opens with the lazy engaging ‘Sad Old Song’ following that is the restless energy of ‘Long Gone Out West Blues’ – both self-penned originals. The tradition is represented by such treasures as ‘Wild Bill Jones’, and Sally Goodwin’ and there’s also a couple of ‘classics’ in the form of Ted Daffan’s ‘Truck Drivers Blues’ and Billy Baskette’s ‘Waiting for the Evening Mail’. To fully understand how far Pharis has moved her songwriting then listen to the searchingly moving, fragile hope of ‘I Want to be Lucky’ or the fervent reassurance of ‘Come On Home’. And for pure delight take in the gentle calm engendered by Jason’s instrumental ‘Lost Lula’.

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. Come on guys plan a trip across the pond – we’re all waiting over here.

Reviewer: Tom Franks

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