Published Jun 06, 2016Folksy couple Pharis and Jason Romero have a romantically rustic backstory, as the duo run their very own banjo shop — the J. Romero Banjo Company — in the small town of Horsefly, BC. Unfortunately, they will need to rebuild their business, as the shop and all of its contents burned to the ground.
The incident occurred in the early hours of Sunday morning (June 5). The couple and their young children were sleeping in a cabin adjacent to the workshop when they were awoken at 3 a.m. by flames. They escaped safely with their children, but both the shop and the cabin were entirely destroyed.
Pharis wrote on Facebook, "It's gone. With all the banjo tools and supplies, a batch of 5 beautiful banjos ready to be shipped tomorrow, every instrument we own (and some - like the Gibson 1943 banner J-45 we got from Alice Gerrard - hurts extra), and so much more in there."
The couple are still waiting on information regarding their insurance coverage. It will be weeks before they can start rebuilding the shop and months before they can resume making banjos. Pharis explained, "One of the hardest parts of today was sorting through the burned rubble; the piles of vinyl records fused together, nothing but brass parts and truss rods left of finished banjos, bronze hardware melted together, and not even a trace of the old guitars."
The Romeros won't be starting a crowdfunding campaign until they know exactly how much their insurance will cover, but friends and fans have already started sending contributions. Pharis wrote, "Folks have been sending money to our Paypal account to firstname.lastname@example.org (via family/friends transfers - no fee), buying digital albums (we have no physical ones left), and sending e-transfers, and we are incredibly grateful."
Pharis and Jason Romero released their album A Wanderer I'll Stay last year.
UPDATE (6/20, 3 p.m. EDT): A benefit show will be held for Pharis and Jason Romero on June 30 at Vancouver's Wise Hall.
Thanks to CBC for the tip.