At first you hear the lyrical sound of a tin whistle trailed by the thrum of a washboard, next comes a flute, drums, zippy guitar riffs and finally the combined vocals of the dynamic duo creating these amazing and original compilations; the eccentric and highly talented husband and wife team – Hat Fitz and Cara Robinson.
I was fortunate to meet and befriend them at the Byron Bay Bluesfest a few years back. We have kept in touch since. Naturally, when I found out they were headlining the Mordialloc Food and Wine Festival recently, I was keen to catch up and see how they were doing.
Robinson is a blue eyed, blonde Irish born beauty who has a lilting accent and harmonic yet powerful voice, singing in contrast, albeit complimentary to Fitz’s equally lyrical yet gravelly vocals. She has toured with Jamiroquai and the hugely popular Corinne Bailey-Rae.
Robinson and Fitz are all about contrast. She wears colourful red netted fascinators, pretty shirts and blouses, while he wears bushman/scrub shorts, shirt, boots, wide brimmed hat and wild bushy beard, hence his nickname, The Wild Man of Australian Blues.
Their original sound is best described as being seeped in authentic folk with a trans-continental Delta, Irish folk twist imbuing old hill country blues, gospel, and soul with a touch of Motown going on. Or as Fitz so aptly says “more of a turbo blade ceramic blues tone, cause I’m a tiler by trade”.
Robinson drums with fire in her belly, sings like an exquisite Angel on speed, thrums her wash board with rhythmic agility as only an authentic Irish born could and plays the tin whistle elegantly; juxtaposing Fitz’s passionate organic guitar and banjo riffs and melodically gritty vocals, thus bringing to the stage a vibrant, lively and entertaining blend of their cultures in a visually electric and magical performance. Contrast, contrast, contrast!
After their gig I sat back stage chatting and filming them.
Fitz being the cheeky Aries kept pulling funny faces, kissing and touching up his lovely wife throughout filming. It only made him play up more when I told him I’m uploading this enjoyable interview onto my You Tube channel.
So in between kisses, hugs and other shenanigans, Robinson filled me in on the goss.
“Well we have just come back from being semi finalists at the 2015’s International Memphis Blues challenge USA as the representatives for the South East Queensland Blues Association. It was an amazing experience meeting and jamming with some incredibly talented musicians. In fact we have an invite back so I guess they liked us. We met many interesting people and were shown decent hospitality by all. It was a blast seeing famous places and just being amongst the awesome vibe of it all. However, its always great to get back home for much needed rest and to unwind.”
The couple resides on an amazing country property with an equally amazing lake nestled within the northern NSW Mountains and it’s where they go to recuperate, recharge, and create more of their brilliant music.
“We share with kangaroos, wallabies, possums, Bilbys, wombats and heaps of birds. Often we’ll jump in our tinny and go costing up the lake and disappear for a couple of days. Our lake winds us down and we just chill out,” laughs Robinson.
Fitz chips in winking mischievously “Sometimes we simply lose ourselves and get high…on life.” Laughter ensues.
Robinson and Fitz are riding the high wave of success right now and with their UK manager booking tours all around the world, their work load sees them sleeping in foreign beds most of the year.
Recently, more acknowledgement and success came their way with them receiving a high commandment from the Queensland Music Awards 2015 for their original material, plus Robinson won best female vocal in the 2015 Chain Awards. With their world fan base growing bigger each year and sales of their CDs sky rocketing, it won’t be long until HatsFitz and Cara Robinson will be a name on many people’s lips.
In fact their latest album Do Tell sat at No. 1 in the Australian Blues & Roots charts for three months as well as entering the Amazon charts at No. 17 in Europe.
Do Tell is a superb and expertly mastered album. The emotional maturity of Fitz’s vocals especially on the song Long Dark Cloud takes you on a tender journey of despair, sadness, and loss. In fact, the whole damn album is so good you discover new sounds and nuances with each repeat playing. This one is definitely worth having in your collection.
You can visit this dynamic duo’s website at www.hatfitzandcara.com