Pharis and Jason Romero of Horsefly have garnered six nominations for the 2021 Canadian Folk Music Awards.
Based on their latest album Bet On Love, released in May 2020, the nominations are for English Songwriters of the Year, Ensemble of the Year, Traditional Album of the Year, Vocal Group of the Year, Pharis for Traditional Singer of the year and Marc Jenkins for Producer of the Year.
“You put out a record, you put every little piece of yourself that you have for that moment in that record,” Pharis told the Tribune. “We give as much as we can to a record and they are all a moment in time. It’s not necessarily a be-all and end-all for the rest of your life. It’s how we feel right now and it’s the music we want to make right now. It feels amazing when people appreciate it.”
Bet on Love was recorded in Horsefly and the Romeros had planned to tour after its release, but all concerts were cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.
Pharis said similar to other musicians, they have been trying to figure out how to share their music differently.
They are booking gigs for 2021, yet always with a caveat because no one knows exactly how that will turn out.
“Maybe it will just be a live-stream, maybe it will be in front of a small audience, we just don’t know. People have been amazing about buying direct from artists this year, which has been really, really cool,” Pharis noted.
Presently the Romeros are working on some music videos and playing with two old-time musicians — Grace Forrest from California and Max Heineman from Ontario — who are living on the Romeros’ property while building an off-grid home in Horsefly.
“We now have a string band and we’ve been doing rehearsals to be able to put out some videos and a live concert in January through an old-time festival that comes out of Portland, Oregon,” Pharis said.
Pharis and Jason are also creating some banjo songs in anticipation of putting out a new album next year.
The 16th edition of the CFMA Celebration will take place online again this year, and will present all 19 awards, plus the Unsung Hero Award bringing the total to 20 awards, virtually, over the weekend of April 9-10, 2021.
The awards were originally scheduled in-person over this weekend in Charlottetown, P.E.I., however, the CFMAs have made the difficult decision to cancel the live shows and weekend celebrations due to COVID-19.
In 2019 they won a Juno Award for Traditional Roots Album of the Year and in 2018 won traditional singer of the year and vocal group awards with the Canadian Folk Music Awards.