HAT FITZ & CARA
Illawarra Master Builders Club
Tickets: 4229 6466
They say opposites attract, which is true in many ways for husband-and-wife duo Hat Fitz and Cara Robinson.
Not only does the musical couple make an odd pair, with his ragged bushman's beard and her delicate Irish features, but when they met at a music festival in Ireland, their sounds were worlds away.
But after embarking on a personal and professional relationship and playing hundreds of gigs worldwide, they have managed to meld their sounds for a more cohesive feel to their second album together.
"When me and Cara first hooked up as a couple duo she had her celtic-cross-motown influence and I had my old-school flavours from the 1940s and we sort of stayed in our own styles for the first album, but they've crossed over for the second and evolved," Fitz says.
"We cross into that folky thing but we've still got that mongrel Australian, old-school stuff going on."
Both Fitz and Robinson were well-known and respected performers in their own right before they met. Fitz says it took their fans in their respective countries time to warm to their changing sound.
"It took a while for people to get used to it, me and my old drummer were a bit more hard-hitting and now I've pulled back to more folky stuff with a bit of a hard edge at the end of the night."
"Over in Ireland, Cara had her thing going on there and I came along and ruffled a few feathers. It's a couple years process for people to get their ears around it."
Their new album Wiley Ways was recorded over three days near their home in the Sunshine Coast hinterlands and features songs they wrote together, as well as some reworkings of songs they had written before hooking up.
"Cara's a writing machine. I'll lay down a riff and she'll write words and I'll basically change one word so if there's any royalties to be had, I'm in the picture," Fitz chuckles.
While Robinson does most of the singing and drum work and Fitz features on guitar and pitching in as a "hollerer" for the vocals, a few unusual instruments also found their way onto the album, including bed pans and leather bags packed with box pedals.
"Just what was laying around the shed when we were recording there. Anything different is good if it works," Fitz says.
While he says collaborating together can get heated at times because of their headstrong personalities, the squabbles over sounds are worth it, because they get to travel and perform together.
"When you've got a great partner, you'll be out and see something and wish your other half was there to see it, but we actually get to see it together."