Sweet Old Religion

by Pharis & Jason Romero

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about

With Sweet Old Religion, Pharis & Jason Romero return, literally, from the ashes. Since the release of their 2016 JUNO Award winning album, the artists and celebrated instrument builders found their guitars, banjos and livelihood burned to the ground in the middle of the night. Gratitude for the stunning array of help, a second child, and a year off touring & recording united into the ideas, feelings and melodies that have become Sweet Old Religion. The record carries a wide spread of their influences, from early 1920s jazz, blues, and country to ‘60s songwriters like Levon Helm and The Band. Their deep love of old music, rural life, and archaic banjo tunings are the undercurrents; the desires for love, connection and community flow throughout. Engineered by John Raham at the Romero’s home in Horsefly, BC, with producer Marc Jenkins and guests including a choir of family & friends, Pharis & Jason are at their most free and most together on Sweet Old Religion. The songs form a constellation that tells an ancient and archetypal story visible to anyone who looks up at the sky on a summer night. And to all those who listen it whispers down below: “Slow down, dig deep, and love your neighbor.”

credits

released May 18, 2018

With Guests:
Patrick Metzger - Bass & Baritone Guitar
Marc Jenkins - Pedal Steel
Josh Rabie - Fiddle
John Raham - Drums
John Reischman - Mandolin

Shining Light Chorus:
Cole Patenaude, Marin Patenaude, Ciel Patenaude,
Brent Morton, Marc Jenkins & John Raham

Produced by Marc Jenkins
Engineered by John Raham in Horsefly, BC
Mixed by John Raham at Afterlife Studios in Vancouver, BC

Additional engineering:
John Raham at Afterlife Studios in Vancouver, BC - Drums, Mandolin, and Shining Light chorus
Brett Huus at Sound Strations Audio Productions in La Cross, WI - Fiddle
Brandon Hoffman in Williams Lake, BC - Shining Light chorus

Mastered by Dan Weston

Art design and layout by Pharis & Jason Romero
Photography by Rick Magnell (www.magnell.ca)
Booklet cover by Ciel Patenaude

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Pharis & Jason Romero Horsefly, British Columbia

Their deep love of old music, rural life, and archaic banjo tunings are the undercurrents; the desires for love, connection and community flow throughout. The songs form a constellation that tells an ancient and archetypal story visible to anyone who looks up at the sky on a summer night. And to all those who listen it whispers down below: “Slow down, dig deep, and love your neighbor.” ... more

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Track Name: Sweet Old Religion
Sweet, sweet, sweet old religion, the bearers of love to their knees
Sweet, sweet, sweet satisfaction, knowing I’ve got all I need
The burdens of time weigh so much lighter on my mind

The oldest of stories and newest of days gives meaning to lovers entwined
Loving is magic though easily tragic

I see by your window a dreamer in darkness, thinking of far away lands
Holding a mirror and gazing away

You hold the power, the glory the right, in giving your heart away
Don’t give it up without any old fight
Track Name: Stitch In Time
A stitch in time to leave the coat all sewn, covers his weary back
And the silvery line of evening sky brings an end to the herald age
Darkness lies on the wings of a dove, white against the black
It flies to the fields where the yellow bellies grow, sleeping alone and sad
Sleeping alone and sad, sleeping alone and sad
It flies to the fields where the yellow bellies grow, sleeping alone and sad

Sadness strikes like two front fangs, turned to poisoned blood
The years roll by and the little people say, “there’s a change, a coming flood”
The dam won’t break, the river won’t freeze; where’s the change in that?
I see by the light of the evening sky, a star is trying to shine
A star is trying to shine, a star is trying to shine
I see by the light of the evening sky, a star is trying to shine

A shining star in the night’s black cloak, a thread of glowing might
I wonder where the little ones are going to pray, wishing upon this night
A wish for love, a wish for peace, a wish for coming joy
Until this darkness turns to day, I’ll close my eyes and cry
Close my eyes and cry, close my eyes and cry
Until those dreams comes true these days, I’ll close my eyes and cry
Track Name: Salt and Powder
I love my old wanderer, I do, I do; I love my old wanderer, I do
And when he goes wandering I’ll go wander too ‘til the sun rises up and o’er the hills

I’ve left a good old many behind, so long, I’ve left a good many behind
The losers and weepers and the crying old fools living where I left them still

Honey and sugar in a big old pot, melting on an open flame
Salt and powder in another spot, giving it all the same
I love my old wanderer, I do I do; I love my old wanderer, I do

I’ll take my time where I please, I will, Lord I’ll take my time where I please
And give it with plenty of love my friend; my old friends, my lost ones, my new

My mother said always be kind, my love, my mother said always be kind
And I’m good to the very last breath I draw, and sweet to the very last word
Track Name: Old World Style
See the barely shifting, sands of time, there’s ebb and flowing from your door to mine
There’s ebb and wander, reason and rhyme; I’m a salted cowboy in the old world style

I’m a rambling rover, with far to go, I’m headed up country, over hills I go
And when I’m wandering, where no one knows I’m the happiest cowboy in God’s green grove

I’m the happiest rambler, without you here, far ahead I see your shadow on the hills
I stay well back, out of love and fear; no more will I chase you, no more I will

With time comes loving, with time comes tears; I learn each time you leave my arms
It’s a passing feeling for you, not me; so I wander behind, I wander afar
Track Name: Age Old Dream
When I was young and seventeen, I left to find the age old dream
It is true every boy will know one day he’ll leave his momma’s home
Broke my back on the mountainside, left my heart on this mountainside

I’ve punched these holes in the rocky ground, and I dug with only the dark around
I had a good boss but he died too, and everyone since has been a fool
Dark and cold on the mountainside, breaking our backs on this mountainside

And every night I sleep with you, in dream and sometimes nightmares
But pennies come and nickels go, and years go by still nowhere close
And I’m trying to leave the mountainside, getting off this damned divide

Working for what might be left, trying to make a long lost self
On the the trails of hopeful lives, that never quit so I keep trying
And I broke my heart on the mountainside trying to cross this damned divide
Track Name: The Salesman
The single mind is fading fast
Going with the last golden hour
Heard you looking for a new way of living in the past
Listening to the old folks listen to the radio
He says one thing, she says another, they’ve got a whole new plan
Tear it all down to the ground then start all over again
Start all over again

Please mister salesman, I’m going half insane
On a TV screen a man keeps calling out my name
BYO the family’s still intact
Love, love, love, love, keeps coming back

I haven’t stood so still in years
Listening for the sound of coming rain
Clouded skies are you my friend, or something to fear?
When’s it all coming down? Here’s what I know:
I’ve got two good hands, in the middle is a heart beating strong
Circle up and speak your mind, build us a brand new song
Hmm, a brand new song
Track Name: You Are a Shining Light
Take it easy and slow, in these short days, as you best know
All the rivers and gentle pines are whispering sure and quiet
You are a shining light, a shining light

I wonder with all my heart where love goes when times get hard
Does it wander and does it roam ’til it finds in you a home
You are a shining light, a shining light
When the moment gets dark and heavy you know you are not alone
You are a shining light

Take your troubles and take your trials; ride that train babe, slow and wild
You’re a rocket, a gleaming star, singing hymns in a one man choir
You are a shining light, a shining light
When the moment gets dark and heavy you know you are not alone
You are a shining light
Shine on my friend
Track Name: You Are the Best Thing
You are the best thing, the very best babe
A shining star above a dark and stormy night
There were no more late night phone calls
Lying on your pillow with a smile
But there’s just one thing I can’t help wondering
As I lie awake and dream of days to come
How someone like you could want someone like me
To be just the very someone I am

I could be stronger, more daring
Arise like a phoenix from all flames
Be cruel when I need to, and love all who love you

But it’s a sin oh and it’s a terrible lie
To pretend to be someone I’m not
So I’m sending to you this little prayer
Please let just me be just your love
Track Name: Leave the Garden Gate Open
I am a self described time waster with nothing on my mind but living in a big old world
Of paint and powder, lucky golden rings
Black pearls and hula girls, and always someone’s thing
I hold it close to be a rambler, I hold it close to be nobody’s own
So I say to you all here in this old town
I’ll see you when the next big thing comes around

Can I just get a little bit more, just get a little bit more
Till the hard times come a-knocking at my door
Leave the garden gate open, old pal of mine
Leave the garden gate open, old pal of mine

The times are moving, the times getting dark
I haven’t heard a wink or nod from round these parts
I haven’t seen the gallery of light since I took down your photo from the mantel of my mind
You could be close to heaven on this earth
I wouldn’t settle for less than what you’re worth
A gamble when you say yes, and one when you don’t
I keep on shaking my head, old pal
Track Name: Come On Love
We are your children, running in the back days
Riding on the airwaves of the morning news
I’m ready for love babe, ready for sadness
Though here comes gladness, just a-passing through

The road is long, the road is wide
Come on love, come on light
Slow down, make time

Those Sunday drivers, slow and steady
Like the wheels on the bus babe, we keep a-going round
It’s the beauty of ages, the living stardust
The feeling knowing when the springtime’s coming round

We keep on climbing, keep on revolving
Reaching out with the love for all in mind
Well my babe you’re magic, and you light my darkness
I’m a richer woman and my heart keeps getting high
Track Name: Babes, Mothers and Fathers
Oh my girl in the time you were born
There was nothing like you and I knew you were the one
I was born in a time of familiar things
You were born when the apples stopped blossoming in spring

There’s a river below the house you were born
It flows in the summer and in the winter both
When you feel that the weight of the world has come
I will take you to listen to its watery song

Babes, mothers, fathers, written all the same
Leaving this old world behind, shine all the way
Oh my girl

Stars in the sky are shining for you
I wish upon their ever changing evening news
I wish upon the wind and the evening sky
I wish for you to one day know how much I love my child
Then you’ll be a mother with children of your own
And feel the wild blue waters calling you back home

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