Hat Fitz and Cara
After the Rain
Frazzled Rootsy Country Blues to Stir The Soul.
Every couple of years the Aussie/Irish duo Hat Fitz and Cara make a pilgrimage to the Jumping Hot Club in Newcastle (other venues are available too) and put on a red hot show that defies the fact that there are only ever two musicians on stage; and I can’t recommend their gigs highly enough.
But, can they transfer that magic to disc?
Well; no……and yes.
While this album is nowhere near as frantic as their stage shows, on record they create a different kind of magic….the kind that stirs the soul and warms the heart.
Opening track Going Home sees Irish born Cara Robinson in Southern Soul mode, as she allows her voice to swoop and soar as she and Fitz create a sultry sound straight from the swamps. Think Chrissie Hinde fronting Creedence Clearwater Revival….seriously.
Next out of the traps is the rather lovely single Doing It Again, with Cara’s golden voice joined by Fitz on harmonies as he makes his Resonator Mandolin sizzle as Ms. Robinson taps out a neat beat on her drum kit.
To some degree this is an album of two halves as the duo share lead vocal duties, with Car being much easier on the ear…..don’t get me wrong I absolutely love hearing Hat Fitz’ grizzled larynx performing acrobatics on songs like Tank Man and I Won’t Bow Down; with the latter really, really showcasing his skills on the guitar.
It makes my teeth itch when I see Hat Fitz and Cara billed as ‘old-timey.’ Classic – yes. Timeless – definitely! They cover so many Rootsy genres they are difficult to define, listen to the fabulously sensual title track After The Rain and tell me it’s Country, Blues or Soul……it is all three with a military style drumbeat to boot!
Speaking of which the Blues has hardly sounded any funkier than on Running Man as Cara swaggers like a ‘red hot Mama’ in down-town honky-tonk and Fitz plays the dirty end of his fret board. My, oh My…..this song really makes me all sweaty and hot.
Finding a favourite track is as difficult as ever with every song here being a joy in its own rite; but I think I will point you towards the Try. Obviously the title will make you think of the Janis Joplin song of the same name, but the way Cara handles the vocal department is quite staggering as this lady can SING…..not just shout, and the production is Silver edged making the duo sound like a full on ensemble. 10/10
The nine tracks and 32 minutes come to a swinging close with the sing-along, toe-tapping, smile inducing Keeping On and I can’t think of a better way to close this rattling trip through the roots of Country and Blues music.
Released December 5th 2016