When former Toowoomba hairdresser Gina Jeffreys attended the 1995 ARIA Awards she chose a dazzling gold frock from a trendy Sydney boutique.

Her stable-mate Troy Cassar-Daley hitched a ride in a stretch limo hired by manager Doug Trevor and helped her with her acceptance speech en route.

Grafton reared Troy, then 25, normally togged up in jeans and tee shirt for formal occasions but at the 11th hour decided to honour Gina with his own fashion accessory.

So the singer rushed into a St Vincent de Paul op shop in an inner Sydney suburb and bought a recycled jacket off the rack.

It was a decision that Cassar-Daley will never regret.

Or forget.

When the ARIA award was announced it was Troy - not Gina - who was the winner and he prepared his speech as he stumbled on stage.

"I tripped over a chair and ad-libbed," Cassar-Daley vividly recalled after his album Beyond The Dancing won the prestigious award.

"I thought I had no chance so I bummed a ride with Gina in my ratty little jacket I bought from Vinnies. She had a very nice gold number on."

Now, 13 years down the lost highway from Troy's family and spiritual home on the banks of the Clarence River in Grafton, he still has fond memories of the jacket and benefactor.

It has become a boomerang of sorts for the son of indigenous artist Irene Daly who met her Maltese husband when they were both 16 and working in the Sweetacres Minties factory in Sydney suburb Rosebery.

Troy, one time host of Nu Country TV and regular guest, is a headliner of the free, well-publicised Vinnies' World Youth Day concert at Federation Square, Melbourne, from 5 pm on Thursday July 10.

It's not clear whether Troy, now 39 and father of two, will again choose Vinnies as his costumier du jour but he added more threads to his CV in June.

The singer, who won his 14th Golden Guitar in Tamworth in January, was recently voted Global Country Artist of the year in Nashville.

And he also scored the APRA country music gong for his hit Everything's Going To Be Alright - a tune that he penned with fellow Grafton raised singer-songwriter Don Walker who did his time in the beer and wine mines with Cold Chisel.

Walker's post Chisel era included acclaimed solo albums, trio discs as Tex, Don and Charlie and treasure trove of songs penned for Troy, the late Slim Dusty, Jeff Lang and many more.

Troy's colourful career has included national touring stints with legends such as The Highwaymen, Merle Haggard, Don Williams and many more.

A frequent guest at those gigs was his mother Irene who used wages from working on buffet cars of trains to finance an adult education course to become an art teacher.

She bought 45-hectare farm Wongabeena at Halfway Creek on Grafton's outskirts - her parents trapped wallabies and rabbits on Bundjalong tribal land on the Clarence River banks.

Troy now lives in Queensland with singing spouse Laurel Edwards - a breakfast host on former Brisbane country music station 4KQ - and their children.

CLICK HERE for a Troy interview from the Diary on July 24, 2007.
CLICK HERE for Anne Sydenham's review of Troy's CD launch at Northcote Social Club on July 9, 2007.


Ironically, another of the celebrated artists at the Vinnies World Youth Day concert first won national exposure with another major U.S. country artist Dwight Yoakam on his second Australian tour.

Chasing Bailey, nee The Baileys, made its Victorian debut at the historic Palais in St Kilda in 2007.

And, unlike many support acts, the young Tamworth quintet won wide acclaim for its spirited performance.

CLICK HERE for a review from our concert page.

Chasing Bailey comprises siblings Charlene, Crystal and Kurt Bailey and bandmates Lindsay Dallas and Daniel Conway.

The sisters play guitar and sing, Kurt plays drums, Dallas is the bassist Conway plays lead guitar and is also a vocalist.

Lindsay is grandson of Tamworth country music icon Rex Dallas whose solo career has included tours and concerts with major local legends.

Multi-national record label EMI signed the band after members honed their craft in the NSW Schools Talent Development Project.
It will release Chasing Bailey's single Little By Little on July 17.

The song, accompanied by a video clip, is from debut album Long Story Short, due for release on August 16.

< Charlene Bailey

Paul McKercher of Eskimo Joe, Midnight Oil and Pete Murray fame, produced the album at Electric Avenue in Sydney during 2007.

Although band members are only in their early twenties they have been performing on stage for seven years.

"Charlene has been singing since she was 11 and won a few major talent quests, and then a few years later Crystal and I decided to take up music as well," Kurt revealed recently.

"We started playing various shows wherever we could and met Lindsay, who was playing shows with his dad from a early age and he used to invite us to be special guests. Our manager was judging a talent quest and watched this little 12 year old rip it up on stage with his guitar, and she approached him and told him about the band and the next thing you know his dad and himself landed in Tamworth with all their gear.

Although we were just 12 and 14 years of age we just felt this chemistry and started chasing the dream."

The quintet has broadened its musical palate since signing with EMI.

Crystal Bailey

"We all just started jamming to country, but definitely more the contemporary sound," Kurt added.

"There's no doubt we seek global acceptance," Charlene added.

"It's the dream of every member of the band, but we want to be successful in Australia like you wouldn't believe. There is a saying that 'you can take the kid out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the kid' so maybe we still have some country roots that sneak in at times. We don't label ourselves in any genre: we just create and write the music that feels right for us. We have always had the freedom to create music just as we felt and so the end product just may have some country feel but we don't really identify it."

Further info - http://www.emimusic.com.au/site/artist.asp?actID=173619

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