|Dimensions||14 × 12.5 × 1 cm|
Hat Fitz & Cara have recently finished recording their new album “Wiley Ways” which has had the pleasure of being engineered and produced by the highly regarded Jeff Lang.
The process of this has been up to date one of the most enjoyable experiences either of them have had in making an album, what with banging bed pans, packing Cigarette box Pedals into old leather glad bags for that sought after sound. It has been a shared passion for their music that has moulded this album lovingly track by track.
Now they want to share this personal experience of their scrawls and ramblings they have created late into the many early hours from their shed in the bush and long dark nights on the road with the rest of the world.
This dynamic duo is a unique combination that have skilfully combined their music of hill style country blues with old time folk, which has seen them become firm favourites on the international festival circuit. Their material is original yet crosses the boundaries as if written from a time once forgotten.
WILEY WAYS SONG NOTES
This track was inspired by everything that makes you want to get up and move. We immersed ourselves in the ‘Fife and drum’ music of the deep south of America. This sound originated from war marches, life, death and traveling using primitive instruments. We wanted to recreate an authentic sound using an old 1963 Ludwig snare. The call and response vocals are a prominent and powerful feature throughout traditional Gospel singing. With a trance like repetitive motion, they beckon its audience to dance and party. Thanks to the masses that joined us whilst recording this track. Power is a word of strong expression, having power to breathe, power to feel. To be empowered by life is the message throughout the song. A pumping fife and drum track with the driving melodic trance sound of the Tiesco electric guitar enforced by the raw beat of the old 1940’s floor tom creates the sound of this track.
With a somber nod to the creaking of the bow, a ship’s movement is created by using the floor tom and off snare in this piece. A haunting tremolo effect on the old Fender Twin amp is cranked and lays down a solid base for the raw and cracked vocal to tell the story of Frank the poet and how his life story unfolds from Ireland to Australia on a ship named Eliza. Inspired by his life story and his poetry this song came about whilst setting up in a very small pub in Ireland. The doors were shut and only a few locals were perched at the bar, we felt invited to explore the beginnings of what became “Eliza Blue”
With Cara riding the vintage Slingerland floor tom with the odd accent thrown in to give this hill country style tune a full bodied tribal groove. Played on Fitzy’s 1954 Silvertone F-Hole guitar into a mic along side his trusty 1965 Twin Reverb with a splash of tremolo to give this song a touch of honk. The lyrics for this piece cut to the chase but do not slice to the bone. They are personal and tell the story of an old friend who is caught up in their own story as we all can be from time to time. The song title “Absent Eyes” beautifully describes the look of being somewhere else – not being present in the here and now.
This piece is inspired by the early convict era poet Frank Macnamara. Independent record label Stobie Sounds contacted us and asked if we would like to write the music to our choice of poem written by Frank himself. Instantly we were drawn in by his words and how he kept the spirit of many alive in the 1800s with his poetry. Frank the poet was originally an Irish man who was banished as an activist in 1832 and locked away on a ship named Eliza. We wanted a gritty feel to this piece with an energetic driving tempo to compliment the intent of his words. This track cries out for an electric guitar and full kit sound and also a great need for a rusty clunk sound. This is where the old bed pan steps into the lime light.
PLAY ME SOMETHING NEW
“Play Me Something New” is a song of the relationship between Hat Fitz and his lady at the time and his trusty 1959 portable record player and the music played on it. The battle went on over the majority of their relationship as he would often hear the words “Can’t you play something new, I’m sick and tired of hearing all the same music all the time?” Referring to the old time pre-war music he was hooked on. Fitzy used a David Churchill flat top guitar, Brendan McMahon on baby grand piano and Cara on kit and harmonies. This song portrays the gentler side of their music.
“Go Daddy” is a spiritual track using the raw sound of Fife and Drum from the 1800’s. Accompanied by an upside down ripped snare from the 1930’s. We have added an old floor tom for the bottom end this gives it the driving force behind the song. The music portrays a child like feel of innocents and freedom from yesteryear telling the story of a child born into the world without a father. Through out the song there is a tribal essence in the beat of the drums that capture the rawness of the meaning behind the song. Similar to this is the production of Nina Simone’s “Sea Line Woman.” Fitzy on the mobile diddley bo accompanies the melody of the vocal adding a raspiness and raw edge to the piece. This gives this song a unique quality. TARNI LEE Not unlike people in the mines, oil rigs, or in the army our music takes us on the road away from home for sometimes months on end. Having three kids it’s not easy being away and when you hit the wall that’s when you really wish that you were back home with family and friends. It was on Fitzy’s daughters seventh birthday that we were stuck in traffic in Paris and feeling quite low as you would being so far away at this time he began the motions of writing the lyrics to this piece. The guitar used is an early 60’s Tiesco giving it a country pedal steel like flavour with Cara gently driving the song along on toms and with added harmonies for that country feel.
“Wiley Ways” begins with Fitzy on his bell brass resonator in a forward trance like motion. The drums are being beat by the hands in the washboard gloves in the intro before the full sound of the washboard kicks in and so the vocal begins in it’s story of the old gypsy that found Cara lost as a child in the long grass. She remembers the horse and old wooden caravan with his tin of beans on the open fire and the watch full eye of his black hound who lay by his side. The way the washboard is played through out this piece is to emulate the horses hooves and the repetitive guitar pattern is to portray a forward movement of the caravan. The lyrics were written a long time ago adding many different chord structures around them but nothing seemed to work until Fitzy applied his more than 10 bobs worth and brought the song back to life.
“HOLD MY HAND”
Before Fitzy’s daughter was born he was living with her mother and brother. He was away most of the time and drinking a lot. He also spent a short time in jail and was done for drink driving which pushed his lady at the time over the edge. When he arrived home from the big house his belongings that consisted of a car seat full of clothes, a swag, a few guitars and a Fender twin reverb were down the drive way at the gate. In this dark time of his life he wrote this song called “Hold my Hand” This has a hill country style blues feel to it, one guitar, one lead, one Fender twin reverb and his beautiful wife on drums and harmonies.
“Sine” is an instrumental that came about as we were twiddling around the motel rooms between the shows. It evolved from there and became something of an Aussie and Celt traditional type reel. We decided to use the brass resonator guitar, which would not be a normal choice on a traditional tune but seeing as we are not traditional players this felt like the right sound that it needed. Also we used an old classical flute in concert pitch to match the melody and with Jeff Lang’s rolling Volume swells on his lap steel in the background this breaks up the album nicely. The title of the song came whilst at a gig in Southern Ireland. We were presenting it to the audience for the first time without a name and a punter shouted out from the audience “Sine” which in native tongue means (that’s it) and so that was it! “RED RATTLER” From the age of around 9 to 13 Fitzy was surf mad. He lived 3 station stops away from Cronulla beach. Fitzy and other mates would jump the train opposite the station as it pulled in the doors of the red rattler would slide open and they would take their chances avoiding paying the 15 cent ticket. Further on into his life he was getting totally absorbed in old blues, Mississippi Fred McDowell and Bukka White, two of his favourites. Mimicking train players reminded him of those many hours spent on the red rattlers. This piece is played in a style and blend of these two blues players. Played on Fitzy’s trusty Beeton resonator guitar, with the washboard hammering along they are joined by Jeff Lang on bass and his wife Alison Farrier on fiddle which adds an extra drive to the train effect through out the piece.
The saying “Rusty River” came from the original name, ‘The Lagan River’ in Belfast Co/Down. It used to be known as that as there were many a shopping trolley, old radio’s, tyres and brick-a-brack chucked in to be rid and so the term Rusty river it became. Along side the river is the Ormeau Park where Cara used to walk and there one early morning she met a lady with 3 dogs on a string and a bottle of grog tucked away in a brown paper bag deep in the pocket of her winter dressing gown. They sat on a bench and there she told her story of the smugglers hide out caves and parties and a life she once lived to the full. There she was deeply moved by her and her life story and if she taught her anything in that brief encounter it was to have no regrets in life. This piece is simply banjo and whistle and a vocal. Recorded with two mics together live in a room as they wanted to capture the natural
“Hat Fitz and Cara make beautiful, raw, exciting music that never fails to grab me” – Jeff Lang, Australia “They pack more energy, emotion and sheer musical exuberance into one song than most manage in a whole career” – Spiral Earth, UK
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