Arts & Entertainment

Hat Fitz and Cara: Fighting Fit

Photo: Rob Roy

Sounds of clinking cutlery, crockery, children’s voices and ultimately, minor chaos can mean only one thing. Dinnertime. A sound that is music to the ears of Irish blues musician Cara Robinson after a near-fatal car accident left her struggling with the everyday activities most take for granted.

“I couldn’t do a lot of things you know?” she recollects sombrely over the din as she audibly jostles around the Queensland home she shares with Aussie partner ‘Fitzy’.

“I couldn’t make dinner, I couldn’t play the drums, I couldn’t write, I couldn’t think rationally. It really does take over your life. But I couldn’t believe just how much people cared and how willing they were to take time out of their day to help me or take me to the doctors.”

Only the rugged Fitz, whose extensive career in the Australian blues scene encourages his admiration for its challenges, matches Robinson’s desire and devotion.

“You’re always trying to get that one step up the ladder,” he says.

“But it does get a bit frustrating at times you know, doors open and doors close on you.”

“I would say that there’s nothing quite like the big Australian festivals, like Byron Bay Bluesfest is just a corker,” Fitz adds.

“So is Woodford Folk Festival. You’ve just got a pack load of people that are just there for one thing.”

While the trials and tribulations of their travelling lifestyle can be hard to contend with at times, over the last two years the couple have been dealt a hand that a lot of families would struggle to overcome. It was only six months after the release of their highly acclaimed album Wiley Ways, that Robinson was involved in the accident.

“I think it was something that came along and just said ‘Right, you have to slow down now’,” says Robinson.

“Fitzy had to work to keep money coming in. I honestly don’t know how people do it on their own, you know?”

With physio and much-needed rest executed, the pair is raring to get back on the road and pick up where they left off.

Glastonbury Festival was the biggest festival that we were asked to play but we didn’t end up doing it due to the crash,” says Robinson.

“We wanted to keep it simple. It made me enjoy life more than constantly chasing this goal. In saying that though, that isn’t going to stop us.”

Back on home soil, the duo is settling back into their Aussie home of Queensland. Dividing their time between Robinson’s homeland of Ireland, Europe and Fitzy’s native Australia, they have a view of the world that most would envy.

“Seeing new countries and meeting new people are some of the beautiful benefits,” enthuses Robinson.

“Making friends and making contacts is good and when you run into a few familiar faces it’s always nice too.”

“But oh my God it’s hard work!” Fitzy exclaims.

“Being away from home and the kids is full on but we’re out there doing our job and trying to get to the next level you know? We’re not out there on a holiday. We go off like banshees at each other at times.”

Coming from the scene in Ireland, Robinson admits that it is on a “much smaller scale” compared to Australia. However, that wasn’t the only thing that she found larger than life in our beloved outback.

“When I first moved here, Fitzy was at work and I was home alone. It was me and this huge spider,” she chuckles.

“I thought, is it going to kill me if it bites me? Is it a lady-killer? When he got back there’s me standing on the sofa, feather duster in one hand and the spider on the floor with a brick and a shoe on top of the Tupperware container because the bloody thing moved the container!”

Injuries and spiders well and truly conquered, this lady and her tougher-than-nails Australia beau are set to tour their socks off. With Fitzy on riff duties and Robinson’s drumming and singing multi-tasking, their Fighting Fit tour will see some songs of old and new.

“To be honest I was on some heavy medication through some of the gigs we were doing so I could play without too much pain,” Robinson explains.

“So I ended up having the songs going on in my head, but I never had the chance to put them down on the drums with ease. Over the last couple of months we have established them so they are literally brand new.”

“I’ve found they take their own transformation the more we play them so we’re looking forward to that,” concludes Robinson. (CD)

Jan 16, The Camelot Lounge, 19 Marrickville Rd, Marrickville, $27.70; Jan 25, The Basement, 7 Macquarie Pl, Sydney, $20-95 + bf, hatfitzcara.net

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