Album Reviews

Jim Pharis

Sure to Offend

Artist:     Jim Pharis

Album:     Sure to Offend

Label:     Self Released

Release Date:     07/05/2015

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Central Louisiana native, Jim Pharis, is an incredibly unique blues musician. On eleven original tracks, Pharis talk-sings about several subjects that concern him in today’s postmodern world. His flat, somewhat nasal vocals and sketchy grammar might bother some people, but his fingerstyle guitar work is excellent.

According to his website, Pharis began playing guitar as a 12 year old on a 3/4 second hand Sears and Roebuck guitar that he bought with grass cutting money. After his parents realized how obsessed he was with it, a new, full sized guitar appeared at Christmas time. While in the Midwest he began working as a solo artist playing coffeehouses, restaurants, resorts and night clubs. In 2002, Jim returned to Louisiana, settling in the Lafayette area where he plays music, publishes a fingerstyle guitar instructional website and teaches fingerstyle guitar.

Some tracks are really funny, like “Gun Rag,” a song about the very nice neighbor that has a few too many guns: “Boxes and boxes and boxes of ammo. His house catches fire, it’ll go KA-BAMMO! There’ll be a hole in the ground like an atom bomb. There’s enough rounds to fight a war. When I ask him what for, he said he might need ‘em down the road.” Pharis’ ultimate conclusion is that “somebody’s cleaning up; someone’s making a buck; somebody’s cleaning up with this Gun Rag.”

Intermixed with these nutty clever songs are quirky instrumentals, which might be more folk than blues. Overall, Pharis is ¼ blues and ¾ folk singer-songwriter. According to his promotional note with the CD, it was recorded over a period of two days on a single microphone and self-produced with the help of a Kickstarter campaign.

– Laura Sedor

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