DIARY - 7 MAY 2009 - TROY CASSAR- DALEY INTERVIEW
CASSAR-DALEY LOVES THIS PLACE
TROUBADOUR BY NIGHT OR DAY
slammed down the bonnet of that old station wagon/ two kids in the back,
she's gonna drive into the night/ she said 'I'll pull into Wee Waa to
get some food and coffee'/ she headed east into a brand new life."
- This Day Is Mine - Troy Cassar-Daley-Colin Buchanan
was one of those moments frozen in time that soon became a deep deposit
in the memory bank of the sharp-eyed troubadour.
Troy Cassar-Daley was driving through the western NSW cotton and grain
belt when he dismounted from his steel steed.
There, under the nocturnal neon on the apron of a rural fuel stop,
he stepped into a poignant passion play - a young mother of two making
an escape from her domestic prison.
up at a service station in Wee Waa and saw this young woman fuelling up
her car," Troy, 40, told Nu Country TV.
was two in the morning. She had two beautiful kids and all their belongings
in the back of the car. I had to check she was OK. I had to ask. She was
about 22, going off into the darkness in western NSW. It seemed like a
big gutsy thing to do. I wrote this verse and chorus."
The image earned plenty of interest until it was liquidated in the fullness
of time near another country town.
stepped down from the tractor at the end of the harvest/ it was gonna
take a bumper crop, it was close to do or die/ but 12 bags to the acre
means he's not a failure/ and in his heart he knows they'll get by."
- This Day Is Mine
raised singer hooked up with fellow NSW rural refugee Colin Buchanan at
his farm and sowed the seeds of a richer crop.
born in Dublin, migrated here at six and nurtured his songwriting
as a teacher at Cornerstone Christian Community due west of Burke
at Pera Bore.
"I sang it to Colin and he had a tear in his eye and said that's
a pretty powerful first verse you've got there,"
Troy recalled of a tune that the prolific Golden Guitarists and ARIA
winners tilled from the local terrain.
"We were at my farm working on songs. I had been talking to a
neighbour at my farm - about same age as me. He was a fourth generation
farmer - he said he started questioning his skills as a farmer when
he started getting failure year after year. He said he needed a bumper
crop. So these are the two people in that song who have really embraced
the day. They acknowledged the fact that it was going to be hard but
they were both going to do it."
his seventh album I Love This Place with Rod McCormack whose brother
Jeff was the engineer.
Cassar-Daley and Buchanan wrote four songs in their sojourn - Sing
About This Country was the other to land on the Liberation label disc.
The powerful paean to the link between the majestic beauty of the country
and song is the album's entrée.
It will also be the second single to be accompanied by a video clip.
"I would love to make a video for This Day Is Mine but I only
have a song every couple of months," the singer explained.
"I would be making 10 video clips an album as there are so many songs
that lend themselves to it."
Instead Troy has hosted an episode of Nu Country TV that also includes
his video for Big, Big Love.
Troy, who performed unannounced at Whittlesea during recent bushfires,
also appeared with Kasey Chambers-Shane Nicholson at the MCG Sound Relief
The singer recently appeared in the all-star video for Goulburn Valley
raised Tamara Stewart's bushfire benefit song Tangerine Sky that
he introduces on our TV show.
ABOUT THIS COUNTRY
you seen the rain falling down on Uluru/ headed north to Janie Creek out
of old Mapoon/ watched a Kurumba sunset melt that western sky." -
Sing About This Country - Troy Cassar-Daley-Colin Buchanan.
The farm song writing sessions were truly organic.
"Col came out to my farm and I cooked him rissoles," the culinary
"We wrote four songs in two days - two made it on the record.
Sing About This Country was easy to write. What inspired me was
that Aboriginal people have been singing about his country for thousands
of generations. We've all been told about our songs our tribes have sung.
I thought wouldn't it be great to all sing the same song because we're
proud to live here - it was just inspiration. There are different songs
in different areas - they use to depend on these songs to bring rain and
to make sure they had plenty of kangaroos. They were simple things - songs
about the country."
The singer applies his own reality check to song locales - unlike the
covers clones and rote by map writers.
"I only put places in there that I have been effected by in the last
couple of years of touring," Cassar-Daley revealed.
"That was the thrill of doing it. We were right up near a place called
Mapoon because old Mapoon gets a mention in this song. My band are doing
some incredible clinics and songwriting days with some kids way up in
the Cape in far North Queensland, on the western side. I played this song
for the kids. When the name Mapoon came up and Janie Creek, which is a
very sacred place, they erupted. They loved it, they really did know someone
cared enough to mention their town."
you looked out from a headland on an Angourie Dawn/ or stood in Kakadu
and felt so small/ or dived through the waves on Cottesloe beach/ seen
the Derby stars." - Sing About This Country.
also ensures that reality check extends to his videos - especially Sing
About This Country.
Multiple award winning video director Ross Wood sourced locale images
to intersperse with footage of Troy and band.
"I have just seen some of the wild stuff that's come through from
Tourism Australia," Cassar-Daley explained.
"Uluru, Kakadu, Cottlesloe Beach, Derby and some footage from far
North Queensland. But there were a few things I had to change. Ross Wood,
who is making the clip, had this guy fly fishing in this estuary. First
of all there are crocodiles there. Secondly you would be on a death wish
if you were fishing there in the first place. Ross laughed when I explained
that it was at Janie Creek where Ernie Dingo and I went to make a documentary
up in far north Queensland. We could hear the female crocodile barking
across the river. It's very hot but no-one swims there - it's right up
near a place called Mapoon."
the day we met I have to say/ my life's been blessed/ and that old sky
above ain't got nothing on/ this big, big love." - Big, Big Love
- Troy Cassar-Daley.
singer credits fellow pre-teen Tamworth busker and latter day expatriate
Australasian superstar Keith Urban for the disc's entrée single
"I was having real trouble writing last year," Troy recalled.
"I ended up catching up with Keith on a plane, going over to
Phoenix, Arizona, to do his show.
He said to me 'how's the writing going?'
I said "to tell you the truth, it's not going too well. I'm having
a bit of a writer's block.'
He said 'how are you approaching it?'
I said 'on guitar.'
said 'try a drum machine - in your Mac computer you'll have garage band.'
"I often go to it when I need energy in a song. I started that when
I got home. I started on electric guitar that I normally don't write on
a lot. I got it going and was having a ball.
Three or four songs into this project I thought I've broken the drought
- it's finally flowing again."
confessed that both the Cassar-Daley and Urban spouses and offspring inspired
Troy wed fellow singer and 4KQ breakfast DJ Laurel Edwards many moons
ago and they have two sons.
Urban, 41, took the plunge much later in life with a Sydney born thespian
"When Keith and Nicole's baby was born we texted him and said 'congratulations,
it must be a huge thrill for you being a dad the first time.'
His reply - beautiful result, she's absolutely gorgeous. We're all tired.
Big love to the family - Keith.'
"I was in the middle of this track. I was working out real rocking
drum feel. I thought it doesn't get much bigger than that. I might head
for that as the hook line and go for that direction. I worked the demo
up in a couple of days, sent it to Keith and he loved it.
He really thought I nailed what he was talking about. It kicked a door
in for me - opened up another avenue. You can write this. So far he hasn't
asked for a share of the royalties."
singer gave the new father free paternal advice.
"He asked me a lot about the balance of family and career,"
"At any level it's hard to balance. I said to him 'you probably already
know that but what it comes down to is priorities. As long they're the
No 1 priority everything else will fall into line behind that and will
happen in its own way. You tell the record company when you want to tour.
You keep your time off in big blocks for Nicole and you like Laurel and
I do. He found it refreshing to hear it coming from an Australian voice
- someone he's known for more than 20 years."
Urban, once signed to fellow expatriate Australasian Barry and Jewel Coburn's
publishing company Ten, Ten, didn't offer Troy advice on landing songs
in movies and TV shows.
"No, we mainly talked about guitars and about old memories we had
back in Tamworth," Cassar-Daley recalled.
"We used to go and busk outside Cheaper Music in Tamworth as 12 year-olds.
We continued doing that over the years, even after we had our record deals.
He would ring up and say we're raising money for the kids ward at the
hospital - can you come over and do a few songs at the front of the music
store. I would go to his gigs and he would come to mine - a cross-pollination.
The first time I met Jerry Flowers (Urban's U.S. bassist from his era
with embryonic trio The Ranch) they were going to smash a few guitars
on stage in Tamworth. But Keith missed the stage and cut Jerry's hand
in the middle of show. It was a big moment when they were doing a Garth
Brooks piss-take. I don't think he would have as many Australian friends
come through that would have as much history."
The singer confessed that he hadn't read the controversial Urban biography.
"I'm waiting for Laurel to finish it," he confessed.
"I'm looking forward to having a read because a lot of people and
events I would have been part of. It's nice to see someone's take on Keith
but I would much prefer to hear one from Keith. It would be nice to hear
it from the horse's mouth. I don't think I would be interested in learning
someone else's take on personal battles he has had - everybody already
knows about that.'
who dares to stand by my side/ fast cars, guitars, smoky bars/ is all
I hear her say/ but I'm gonna do it anyway." Ain't Gonna Change
For You - Troy Cassar-Daley-Brook, Sam and Mollie McClymont.
and fellow Grafton raised singer-songwriter Don Walker put the city on
the map many moons ago with their own songs and collaborations.
But Troy's co-write with Grafton gals The McClymonts - Ain't Gonna
Change For You - is not geographically specific.
"Recording with the McClymonts was the most exciting thing I've done
in a long time," Cassar-Daley explained.
"I don't know if it was because I didn't realise how much energy
they had as an act. I had known them since they were tiny girls I talent
quest, all from Grafton. Laurel said you are always skiteing about Grafton
and all the talented people who come from there, have you ever written
anything with The McClymonts. They were at Gympie Muster and I called
their mum and said 'is there any way they could drop in for half a day
on their way back and write a song? That's exactly how it came out on
the record. It was pretty well how it was arranged that day on our kitchen
table - with heaps of laughter."
been walking down the streets of this old town/ passing by each memory
this far down the track/ I can't help coming back to the way things used
to be." - This Town Is Me - Troy Cassar -Daley-Vaughan Jones-Luke
has penned a brace of songs about his hometown Grafton - not quite the
same as Steve Fromholz Texas Trilogy or his fellow late Texan troubadour
Mickey Newbury's American Trilogy.
are at least three on this disc but he and fellow Grafton raised Don
Walker reached further afield for Down That Road Before.
But This Town Is Me drew on flashbacks to childhood on the
banks of the Clarence River.
"It was so personal and an effortless song for me to write,"
"I had so many memories flooding back. My band arrived one afternoon
to go on tour and we just started writing the song. My keyboard player
had this beautiful melody and I said I've got a poem that might go
with this. The cab is arriving in half an hour."
is Country Boy Lost In The City.
"When I first went to the city I was always lost," Troy confided.
"I was always stuck in traffic for hours. I couldn't find anyone
I could relate to as I drove too slow - so it made me feel at home when
I wrote it."
out to the Johnson's family farm/ got my hat and my pickin' bag underneath
my arm/ the sun is just dancing on the trees/ by 10 o'clock this morning
it'll be 40 degrees." - Bean Pickin' Blues - Troy Cassar-Daley.
has long drawn on the family history - especially mother Irene - for spiritual
and song inspiration.
Once it was her time working the buffet cars on trains and her career
as an artist and teacher.
But this time he reached back to a truly organic source.
"Our family history goes far deeper than I thought it would,"
"My mum used to talk about the times a messenger from down town would
come up and ask her to help in a paddock full of beans that needed to
be brought in that one weekend. My Nan, Auntie Val and my mum would all
go and give them a hand. They could make some very good money if they
picked enough beans. I was only six when I first went bean picking - it's
one of those songs I would love to make a video for. It was about same
time as mum was working on trains. If she had a weekend off she would
drag me up there to bean pick. I distinctly remember how hot it was and
the hours they would put in."
around the drum, boys/ rally around the drum/ the showies are in town/
and there's money to be won/ in all the local stock camps/ the word is
getting' round/ there's no doubt about it." - Fred Brophy's In
Town - Troy Cassar-Daley
singer mined the outback and rural towns for snapshots of life way
beyond facile fools' gold of big city hustlers and their rapacious
rodent race for Fred Brophy's In Town and Chasin' Rodeo.
Brian Young - the singing stockman who took a teenage Troy under his
wing - has been honoured in documentaries.
But this time the singer sourced two of his best songs from his embryonic
"I have vivid memories of many agricultural shows and boxing
"Fred Brophy's was one of the biggest. There was no way I would
step into the ring with some of the bloke's he was toting around.
I remember I was totally overcome with the amount of entertainment
he offered. He had all this energy and spontaneity.
I don't know
if some of the people in the crowd were plants, just challenging each
other. Brian Young took me around to Fred's camp the next day. He wouldn't
let me sit down until I drank a warm VB with him. It was a couple of sips
he made me have.
He was a complete card - it was 8 o'clock in the morning.'
pulled into another town/ out here on the road/ I'm still carrying the
bruises/ from the last cagey bull I rode/ now I had my choices/ but when
I had to go/ I said mum and dad I love you heaps/ but I'm off chasing
rodeo." - Chasing Rodeo - Troy Cassar-Daley.
with Young involved tandem touring with rodeos - an endangered species
akin to equestrian steeplechases and hurdle races.
"Chasing Rodeo is a special song dedicated to the entire sport
- not only to Brian Young," the singer explained.
"We were sleeping around campfires, some times in a roof rack because
of the snakes and other vermin. We did a lot of miles together. I saw
a romance in rodeo that a lot of people don't see. It's also dedicated
to Kenny Coleman. They were both world champions in their own right in
their different careers. You've got to write about these characters that
you've got while they're still here. It's a few years since I slept in
a roof rack but I have entertained the thought a few times. My kids say
they want to sleep in the top bunk when we get to a motel. I tell them
'when we were kids we were sleeping in the roof rack of cars.' I hope
they get to experience that."
THE ROAD AGAIN
the singer is on the road again after an intense month of radio, TV and
print media interviews.
The singer, unlike rap, hip-hop, dance, disco, heavy metal and pop peers,
doesn't need studio tricks to nail his message.
He frequently breaks into song on acoustic guitar to illustrate his music
in live radio and TV interviews.
"I really want to concentrate on bedding down this new album properly
here," Cassar-Daley said.
"Doing face to face radio has been the most exciting part of it -
when you're singing a song to someone it's a whole different thing. I've
neglected that side of promotion over the past few years - with this one
there is a real connection. They get to see how it actually sounds here."
That means trips to Nashville to write and sing will be put on hold for
"My deal with EMI publishing overseas has finished and I'm looking
for a Nashville publisher to push my songs now that I'm free," Troy
"When I write now it's basically to build up my own catalogue. I'm
looking to write with EMI.
They have my back catalogue for more years yet but I will try to push
my songs for movies. I always go back to Nashville. Normally there are
two trips a year but this year probably only one."
Troy's seventh CD I Love This Place is available on Liberation
CLICK HERE to win your autographed
copies of this acclaimed album on our
CLICK HERE for a previous
interview with Troy in our Diary on July 24, 2007.
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