Video Premiere: Pharis & Jason Romero, “Hometown Blues”

Over the past many years, Pharis and Jason Romero have become one of the most reliable folk duos out of rural Canada. Their tight harmonies and intuitive instrumentalism meander through honest songwriting that is as easy in its imagery as it is nuanced in its emotion. And their latest effort, Bet on Love (due to be self-released on May 15), is no exception.

This time around, the husband-and-wife duo drilled into the rich landscape of navigating long-term relationships.

Indeed, the pair is raising children and perpetuating a shared music career even as they run a banjo shop in northern British Columbia. Their level of togetherness is something so many couples are experiencing in these days of self-isolation. Whether the Romeros intended it this way or not, Bet on Love is full of songs about how to survive moments such as this with not only love but also sanity intact.

For this song, “Hometown Blues,” the duo drew from the story of Pharis’s father, who returned to Horsefly, B.C., after living for a time in larger cities like Vancouver and Montreal. For the instrumental arrangement, the couple leaned on the aesthetic and low-tuned banjo style of their shared hero John Hartford.

The lyrics, says Pharis, grapple with the difficult balance between missing one’s hometown and struggling against “old patterns that may follow you if you return.”

Of course, returning anywhere may feel like a fantasy at the moment, but it’s good to explore those feelings through music, if not through an actual trip to some far-away locale.

Besides, in a time of isolation, there’s something extra sweet about seeing a group of people sitting so close together on a couch and chairs, making music with the level of intimacy that can only be achieved via stringband instruments and tight harmonies.

So press play on “Hometown Blues” and remember how to bet on love.

Bet On Love is out on May 15 and available for pre-order/pre-add nowHERE.

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