Take Australian blues, mix it with Irish soul and the end result is Hat Fitz and Cara, the next act to take the stage at Napanee’s Ellena’s Cafe as part of the Starstop Tour on July 19.
They promise to bring listeners on a musical journey that draws upon their unique backgrounds to form a roots and blues duo.
Though they may be in perfect harmony now, their relationship didn’t start out on the best note.
“We met over 10 years ago, it was a blues festival in Castlebar in County Mayo in Ireland,” recalls Cara Robinson. “Fitzy asked me for a dance, it was the last song of the night. He worked up the courage and we went dancing on the floor. He was a bit nervous at first and then he got a little bit cocky and started spinning me around. I cracked the back of my head on a marble pillar in the middle of the dance floor and fainted. I woke up on his shoulders as he was giving me a fireman’s lift to see it I was alright. That was the beginning of how we got together.”
Robinson joked his ‘caveman tactics’ of knocking her out and taking her home worked. While they hit it off as a couple, it wasn’t so easy to blend their very stark musical styles.
“It’s taken probably five years or more to meet in the middle so to speak,” said Fitz. “To create the sound we’ve got now is a bit of a unique sound with her souly-Motowny background and my sort of country blues background. We’ve just kind of moulded in the middle and it’s just sort of happened that way.”
Fitz brings his blues guitar with him while Robinson provides vocals-as well as a kick drum, washboard, flute and tin whistle, sometimes all in one song.
“There’s bells and whistles and washboards with the kick drum with the hi-hat going and a bit of fife thrown in and a bit of singing,” said Robinson. “There’s a lot of rhythmical input in our music.”
All of the songs they perform are original. They draw upon their life of travelling the world when penning a new song.
“It starts off with quite a few hours or arguing,” jokes Fitz. “Then you get that out of the way and you draw upon the experiences we’ve had on the road and you’re always going to meet one person whose story blows your mind out and sort of hits you hard. We’re lucky enough to be in a position to write a song about that personal experience they’ve had.”
Robinson says their song, Rosie Hackett, was actually partly inspired by one of their previous trips to Canada. Feeling isolated by the long winter outside, they began to work on a melody with no real ending planned. It wasn’t until they returned to Ireland and met a homeless woman that they began to form the lyrics. They named the song after a bridge that was named for a woman who was recognized for her efforts in feeding the homeless.
Next Thursday’s set list will include songs from their previous albums as well as some of the new material they’re working on. A sample of their music can be found at www.portermusic.ca.
Tickets for the show, which starts at 7:30 p.m., are available at Ellena’s Cafe at 16 Dundas Street E, Marie’s Place at 62 Dundas Street W or online at http://www.starstop.ca/hat-fitz-and-cara.