Country charmer Cassar-Daley bares his soul

IT'S AN odd sensation getting off the phone after interviewing Troy Cassar-Daley - it feels like I've been talking to a mate I haven't seen for a long time rather than a complete stranger, never mind a Country icon.

As with his music, there's an ease, an honesty and humility which you can't help but like.

Over the past year he's invited us into his life more than ever through his autobiography 'Things I Carry Around' and the album by the same name.

What's your favourite Troy Cassar-Daley album?

This poll ended on 31 December 2017.

Current Results

Dream Out Loud


Big River


Long Way Home


Almost Home




Freedom Ride


Things I Carry Around


This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

He has been touring the album for six months and says he's excited to finish at home this month in south-east Queensland where he has spent the past 28 years of his life.

"It's very special because this album is so personal and such an emotional thing," Troy said.

To capture that intimacy, the stage is set like a lounge room which he's inviting audiences into for a chat, and he said at times "you can hear a pin drop, it's so emotional".

Troy said many of the songs had been sitting in the background for years because he felt they were "too personal to record".


Troy Cassar-Daley as a teenager.
Troy Cassar-Daley as a teenager.

They are joined by songs inspired by the at-times painful task of delving back through his own history for the autobiography, which included coming to terms as a youngster with living in two worlds and embracing both his mother's Aboriginal heritage and his father's Maltese.

"The book was the hardest thing I've ever written," Troy admitted.

It took about two years to complete, partly because he found it so confronting to look backwards "for someone who has always just wanted to move forward in life".

In contrast, the music, he said, was "quite a relief ... to tell a story in 3-4 minutes"

But it wasn't always like that.

"In the old days starting out I was playing a lot of other people's music. You have to make yourself familiar to people," Troy said.

"But my end goal was always to play my own music and tell my own stories."

And tell them he has, through 10 solo albums which have sold in excess of 450,000 copies and won him an array of awards, including 35 Golden Guitars across his 30-year career.

Not bad for a bloke who hasn't hit 50 yet!

Things I Carry Around won Troy the coveted Album of the Year at this year's Country Music Awards, where his legacy was also recognised by his induction as the 50th and youngest artist on the Australasian Country Music Roll of Renown.

His name now sits on a plaque on a granite bolder beside that he touched as a kid of Slim Dusty.

"It was a bit mind-blowing really," Troy said of the moment, which he adds was made all the more special by the presence of wife Laurel Edwards and kids Clay and Jem.

"If you strip back the layers of paint, I'm still that kid lined up to get Slim Dusty's autograph."

His autobiography began, appropriately, by talking to Slim's wife Joy, with whom he indulges in a cuppa and sandwiches each Tamworth festival.

When he told her how much he had enjoyed her book, she planted the seed that he should write his own story.

Despite some hesitancy, he said the autobiography captured the truth and emotion he wanted it to - swearing and all - with readers telling him they feel like he's sitting across the table talking to them.

And perhaps it's that honesty which best sums up Troy's approach to his music and his life. On his Roll of Renown plaque it says that he "embodies the spirit of Australian Country music".

And when asked what that means to him, his answer is "honesty - being who you really are".

"When I heard Slim Dusty sing, I knew he was singing about him and about me, and that's what it's about."

In today's world, filled with so much tragedy and confusion, Troy said he hoped music would remain an escape for many, as it was for him as a kid and continues to be.

In his opening track, Funny How Things Change, he sings of a simpler time when people talked and shared more of themselves one-to-one, but Troy said having looked back on his life, he wouldn't change a thing.

"Even when I was broke, I was happy. I was able to continue loving music. I never had a plan B," he said.

And while the Gympie Muster, where he first met Laurel, will always have a special place in his heart, Troy said every audience had a life and a character of its own.

"To be truthful, any time I can step on stage and make my music it's a special gig."

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