Hat Fitz & Cara are an Australia-based blues and folk duo who have gradually built a great reputation both on stage and on record for their authentic and organic approach to the form. Unfortunately their lives and music were derailed by a terrible car accident at the end of 2012 that left Cara with severe head, back and wrist injuries that required a year of surgery and rehabilitation. The great news is that now they have been able to begin writing new material and are heading out on the road this January to play some new songs as well as favourites from their acclaimed albums Wiley Ways and Beauty ‘n the Beast. Ahead of those dates (see end of post) we grabbed them to answer the Post To Wire Six Strings Q&A.
What was the album that first led you down the dusty path of Americana music?
Fitzy: Gus Cannon.
Cara: Actually Atlantic Soul 16 which is not Americana.
What’s been your favourite gig you’ve played and why?
Fitzy & Cara: Byron Bay Bluesfest because of the quality of Artists and people.
How did you learn to play your instrument – from friends, tuition, listening to records?
Fitzy: Father first then listening to records by slowing them down so you could figure out the melody and rhythms more.
Cara: I was taught classical flute but I got off more on listening to Jimi Hendrix, Santana and Herbie Mann, that’s where I learned to improvise.
Do you feel there is a strong folk/country music community in Australia?
Fitzy: In area’s such as the Hinterlands off the coast there are pockets of musicians which is great when you find them.
Cara: Yes I feel the folk scene has taken a while to come back here but seems to be a new stream of musicians coming through also in the cities more people are turning on to listening to alternative folk which is a mixture of English, Irish and Aussie folk styles.
What were some of your favourite Americana albums last year?
Cara: I have been listening to Levon Helm’s Dirt Farmer and Carolina Chocolate Drops’ wonderful gritty sounds and Fitzy and I have both enjoyed Gillian Welsh and her husband David Rawlings. You have to be in the right mood for it but boy does it carry you away to a place back there.
What are the band’s aspirations over the next 12 months?
Well we have had nearly a year off what with the car crash so getting back into playing and putting pen to paper and writing and touring the new album is at the forefront at the moment. After we do a short run in NSW, Australia in January we have a European tour at the end of May with our new European and UK management. We have also the pleasure of our new album being recorded and produced by Jeff Lang. Getting back fighting fit is big on the cards with a fresh insight to what the future holds.
Thur 16 Jan – The Camelot Lounge, Marrickville
Fri 17 – Sun 19 Jan – Thredbo Blues Festival, Thredbo
Wed 22 Jan – The Brass Monkey, Cronulla
Thur 23 Jan – Narooma Quarterdeck Marina, Narooma
Fri 24 Jan – Milton Theatre, Milton
Sat 25 Jan – The Basement, Sydney
Sun 26 Jan – Live @ No. 5, Bellingen