Horsefly’s Pharis and Jason Romero’s latest album has netted three Canadian Folk Music Awards (CFMA).
During the virtual awards ceremony held April 10 and 11, Bet on Love achieved Ensemble of the Year, Vocal Group of the Year and Pharis as Traditional Singer of the Year.
“We feel so lucky to be part of the Canadian Folk Music Awards,” Pharis said. “They do so much to lift up Canadian folk music”
Pharis especially appreciated them winning the ensemble category because it includes everybody, including the producer Marc Jenkins, engineer John Raham, guest musicians Patrick Metzger on bass and John Reischman on mandolin.
“I feel like that ensemble of people are key to the feeling of all of us being in a room playing music together and coming up with ideas and creating together. To win ensemble of the year is very much a shared award.”
She and Jason watched the results unfold on Twitter because live streaming was problematic where they live in Horsefly.
All of the musicians nominated for an award were asked to submit acceptance speeches in advance, something Pharis has never seen done before for an awards show.
“Jason and I sat in my office one day, put the phone on in front of us, recorded us doing potential acceptance speeches. It was one of the strangest experiences — it was fun, weird and from the feedback I’ve heard from people who watched the awards it was effective because there were no lags or online delays.”
Looking excited and happy in the prerecorded videos not knowing the outcome of the awards was strange too.
“You had to channel that feeling of winning — it was really funny.”
The Romeros have many friends in the U.S. who has told them they wished there was American Folk Music Awards because the Canadian Folk Music Awards recognizes folk music in all the forms it is found today.
“It’s everything from country on the radio to traditional Nova Scotia fiddle tunes and everything in between,” Pharis said. “A lot of people consider themselves folk and because they have a contemporary folks category as well as traditional it really brings in a lot of great diversity of artists.”
She praised the CFMA for its multi-cultural focus by having English, French and Indigenous songwriting categories to recognize all the diversity of folk music and all the different voices that contribute to folk music in Canada.
Released in May 2020, Bet on Love was recorded in Horsefly.
At home they are in spring-time project mode. They are rebuilding a dock and transforming a barn into a recording and performance venue, for when performances can happen again. The greenhouse and garden are beckoning.
In the meantime they are shipping banjos out from their instrument-making shop, working on a banjo-focused new album and recording some videos for their website.
“I’m also making a new line of earrings that I am getting ready to release soon,” Phrais said.