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Saturday
Jan142012

Pharis & Jason Romero 'A Passing Glimpse' - Lula

This is a duo who write and play a stripped down take on old-time music. The mix a blend of public domain, older and self-written songs that shows off the duo's vocal and instrumental skills - which are noteworthy. The talent duo not only play and sing everything but they also designed the well-layed out sleeve - it details the songs and where they learned the version they play from. Jason Romero also makes the banjos he plays. The fifteen songs are direct and forceful relying on erudite banjo picking and eternal vocals. They sound somewhere between the contemporary music of a Gillian Welch and old time Appalachain front porch picking and singing. There's directness and authenticity to their music and singing that makes it compelling. Their voices blend as one to give the overall sound an organic sounds that springs from a deep well of understanding for the source of the music and the way they deliver it. The originals like Forsaken Love, Lay Down In Sorrow and Only Gold sit easily alongside public domain songs like Out On The Western Plains and Cumberland Gap (an instrumental) and Hillbilly Blues from Uncle Dave Macon or Engine 143 from the Carter Family. It takes something special to make such a well worn formula stand-out from a host of other similar minded but often less talented performers and Pharis and Jason Romero have it. The gospel plea of It's Me Again Lord, a song written by Dottie Rambo, is a song that conveys human emotion, desperation and hope. Something that many will relate to and my have even more relevance in difficult time. Both, individually, have strong voices that are only enhanced when they intertwine to express timeless emotions and needs. Life may be a passing glimpse but the human voice in song is one of it's joy, a joy that many will find in this album - even some who may not be particularly receptive to old-time music. 

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