16 May 2014 (released)
06 May 2014
The combination of Hat Fitz Blues guitar and Cara Robinson’s soulful vocals makes for a special combination – it takes some listening to to ‘get it’ fully but it is a task well worth the attempt.
The White Stripes weren’t the first to feature a man on guitar and a lady on vocals and drums and the combination makes the music strongly integrated – you never get a sense of musicians just doing their thing.
The tracks here have very different characters – the opener ‘Friday Night’ could be a cross between The Doobie Brothers and Maria Muldaur while ‘Long Dark Cloud’ is deep and intense with Fitz playing a metal bodied guitar and his deep vocals taking you into a place of gentle somnolence.
On more countrified material such as ‘Stray Hat’ Cara’s harmonica has a lively insouciance.
Cara’s vocal is a wonderful thing. She has a soulful, almost gospelly, sound and she emotes powerfully but the clever thing about this pair is that they don’t just concentrate on that – they can do much more so they do. ‘Gotta Love’ seems to combine all the things they do best – great guitar and powerful gospel emoting, cooking with gas and just on the edge of breakdown. Exhausting but fun.
’99.9’ shows the harmony side of the pair along with some fine picking and ‘Shakedown’ sounds as though it would be great in a revivalist tent – lovely flute piping through it.
The roots and Americana – in this case Australianana – scene is buoyant at the moment but there aren’t too many genuine originals: Hat Fitz and Cara do make a sound all their own, dirty and soulful as well as deeply Bluesey.