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HAT FITZ and CARA – Wiley Ways

| 22 November 2012 | Reply

Self released
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

He’s a wiley old dog, Hat Fitz… a Queenslander and through and through Aussie, he’s a veteran of 18 straight appearances at the Byron Bay Blues & Roots (a record unlikely to be bested), yet sounds for all the world like he was born and bred in the Deep South of The United States.  He plays a mean rootsy blues guitar – amongst other instruments – and possesses a wonderfully cracking growly voice, authentic modern blues n’ roots just dripping from his pores.

With partner in crime, music and life Cara Robinson – an Irish chanteuse and veteran of many a soulful gig singing with the likes of Jamiroqui and Corinne Bailey-Rae and boasting a throaty and warm sultry voice – they bash away on washboard, guitar, tin whistle, piano and fiddle while Aussie blues legend Jeff Lang produces respectfully and contributes additional guitar here and there.

There’s such a diverse array of music on offer here, and it’s all quite beguiling and terribly enjoyable.

Opener Power is a gospel belter led by Cara, then we immediately change tack for Eliza Blue, an old-style lament that wouldn’t be out of place on a traditional celtic or Pogues album, before Fitz takes the lead for the rootsy boogie Absent Eyes.

Cara and Fitz’s voices are diametrically different yet work fantastically together, as displayed on Company Underground.  Play Me Something New shows a mature country blues feel, and sees Fitz sharing some intimate asides – the only time we really hear the obvious Aussie twang in his voice.

Cara’s tin whistle and Lang’s snare drum intros Go Daddy, there are jumps and jigs (Hold My Hand and Sine), and we close out with the steam train shuffle Red Rattler and Rusty River’s touching and gentle ballad.

That Hat Fitz and Cara have created such an accomplished, authentic and engrossing album is a triumph.  That they’ve done so in Australia, whilst bringing a world/roots/blues sheen and sparkle and the brightness of their love – both of music and each other – is just the icing on the cake and even more reason to get this onto your stereo ASAP.

Category: CD Reviews

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