DIARY - 30 JANUARY 2006 - TROY CASSAR-DALEY
RIDES THUNDERBOLT AS A BRIGHTER MAN
came down from the country on a long and lonesome road/ I was running
from some trouble over horses they say I stole/ I never fired a shot in
anger, there is no blood on my hands." - Wanted Man - Troy Cassar-Daley-Don
folkies and country artists have frequently milked the long deceased
legend Ned Kelly for their outlaw song phosphate.
Smoky Dawson, 92, chose Ben Hall for his new disc The Homestead
Of My Dreams and Troy Cassar-Daley shopped locally in the Clarence
River estuary near hometown Grafton for Thunderbolt.
The genial horse loving bushranger galloped into Troy's sixth album
Brighter Day in the song Wanted.
plays mandolin and is joined by a vocal cast headed by co-writer Paul
Kelly, Kasey Chambers and Jimmy Barnes on his highly accessible disc produced
by Essence label boss Nash Chambers on the NSW Central Coast.
now 37, draws inspiration for most of his 13 original songs from his roots
further north on the banks of the Clarence River at Grafton.
"I thought is there someone I would find interesting enough to write
an outlaw song about so I started to do research about Thunderbolt,"
Troy, 36, told Nu Country TV.
"My co-writer Don got straight on the internet and found all these
stories. He wasn't one of those Ned Kelly guys able to kill. He never
killed, never killed in anger. He was living not far from Grafton. He
was seen around Grafton races in Cup week. He would stay at the Blue Goose
hotel and leave all his bits and pieces there and dressed to the nines.
It was mainly in New England that he was wanted. He loved to steal thoroughbreds.
Smoky has song about Ben Hall. I'm fascinated by all our history and to
showcase that in song."
"Now something's wrong, I don't feel the best/ something cold and
heavy inside my chest/ I say keep driving, you say don't let go/ in this
getaway car on the northern road." - Getaway Car - Troy Cassar-Daley-Don
it was a more fictional local outlaw couple who inspired Getaway
Car - a tune also penned with Walker.
" I watched a few movies the week before I wrote that song,"
"Nash rang me about looking for songs for Kasey. I played it
to Nash but wrote it for Kasey but it became my song. She became the
other character, an important role and made the song her own. She
listened to the lyric - she really understood the song.
I want to make this a single with a film clip.
I want to
make it a dark, mini-movie thing. I put it across in movie style way -
she (the accomplice) was driving the car when he came out on his last
job and was shot. The line that hit Kasey was he says keep driving - she
says don't let go. He's saying go, go, go - he got shot and didn't intend
it that way. It's an interesting take. Maybe in the sequel we could bring
him back to life with a happy ending. Don drove around NZ with the demo
for two or three weeks and emailed me said I get it added the loaded gun
my home in a hail of blows/ and I went as far as I could go/ in my ears
Daddy's words still ring/ if you walk out now, don't come back again."
- Lonesome But Free - Troy Cassar-Daley-Paul Kelly.
And real life outlaw - former convict country star Merle Haggard who turned
21 in San Quentin after a botched armed robbery on a Bakersfield restaurant
via kitchen when Merle's gang thought the eaterie had closed - who inspired
Lonesome And Free.
Cassar-Daley wrote the song about a conversation with Merle, now 68, on
The Hag's 1996 Australian tour when he was one of the legend's local support
"He said that he had been lonely on the road and I said 'but at least
you were free'," the singer recalled.
"I have this shed and went to get a shovel and three hours later
came back with the song.
It was half started but there was something missing. I went to Paul Kelly
and I was nearly happy. He loved the theme and melody and helped with
the finished song. It would never have been complete without Paul. He
said did he leave home - he had a fight with his dad.
So many people have unresolved issues like that - life's too short. It
had to be written in. He understood it completely."
WALKER FARMED ROBBERY
getting ready to say goodbye to this fourth generation farm/ and all that's
left of what we have is right here in my arms." - Walking Away
- Troy Cassar-Daley-Don Walker.
a different style of rural robbery inspired Walking Away - where a
bank seized a farm from the family of co-writer Walker.
"It's almost a follow-on from Born To Survive for me,"
"Walking Away is where other peoples' dreams are shattered.
People try to stick it out but the drought is so relentless. People
tried to diversify, tried every trick in the book to make it stick.
I wrote the original lyric late one night in Nashville. I was cranky
the bank has so much power over people's lives. I emailed it to Don.
What really hit was he went through the same thing with his family's
farm. He said I've been through this as a teenager - I've got a fair
bit to offer.
farm was outside of Grafton at Fyanflower near Baryulgil on the way to
Casino. Mark Punch played guitar as Jimmy Barnes sang on a rocking song
driven by drums, guitar and harmonica."
the boundary of our place for the very last time/ then I was leaving for
Sydney on the mail train I'd made up m mind/ when dad died in June never
seen my mother so frail/ and three months later we had to put the family
farm up for sale." - Family Farm - Troy Cassar-Daley-Colin Buchanan.
the singer reversed the role in sibling song Family Farm -
the tale of how the late Slim Dusty bought back the family farm at
Kempsey from proceeds of his career as a bush balladeer.
"It took Colin Buchanan and me about four days to write,"
the singer revealed.
"I had the Aussie Post in my bag with the story. It's a dream
come true to walk in and buy your family farm back. I really wanted
to write song about it but I didn't want to get into too much tintacks
with dates. I wanted to keep it loose. The sentiment is right, about
lot of people going back and doing the same thing. It's full circle,
going to local real estate agent and say I want to buy it back. I
later played it for Slim's widow Joy (McKean) and she understood it."
Like Haggard, the singer returned home - his Clarence River roots
for inspiration - for My Town, Going Back Home and River
And, of course,
mama - matriarch Irene wed her childhood sweetheart after they met while
working in the Sweetacres (Minties) factory in Sydney at 16.
"My mum was very special to me, she inspired a lot of my songs,"
the singer recalled.
"Don knows my mum, an artist, well and it helped capture it from
my perspective. It was one of those core songs. It's also about how integral
a saw mill is in a small town. People get flack for taking trees but it's
also a source of living for a lot of blue-collar people. It's about my
uncles who worked in mills and it felt homely to me."
And, sometimes, living away from home accentuates the pull of the artist's
roots - such as Going Back Home.
"I was living in Maryborough and had a 64 Holden," Troy recalled.
"It was the only thing that mattered apart from my family. I was
away in Tamworth and Sydney it proved the importance of the feeling of
home. I wrote it on the back of The Long Way Home."
But it was an adolescent fling with a fisherman's daughter downstream
at MacLean that inspired River Town, replete with a Cajun undercoat.
"I was in love with the girl but she had a burly big dad," Troy
" I was just on cusp of 18. We went out for about six weeks. I was
just starting in a band and on the road. She lived in MacLean that had
been devastated by the 1974 floods. I think the Cajun influence came from
the Harvest fest there."
- THE DEBATE
there's not much to mention about the fishing these days/ cause my license
and living have been taken away/ so I sit on the veranda and look across
the bay." - Fisherman - Troy Cassar-Daley-Ross Hunter.
Another teenage crush inspired Time Is A Friend Of Mine, penned
with Kelly but a TV show created Fishermen.
"There has been a lot of debate on fishing licences and I have been
a big advocate for keeping waterways clean and easy to fish," Cassar-Daley
"I went out on a shoot for Andrew Ettinghausen's TV show. I met Ross
Hunter - a professional fisherman who had a different view - that people's
livelihood is taken away here. Things come at a cost - me being a keen
fisherman I wanted to shed a little bit of light on that as well. It really
made me happy to dispel the myth it's just about recreation anglers -
it's also about people whose lives based on rivers and seas. Ross lives
in Sydney - he built the boat we went out on. He's now a guide on tours
and has a lot of friends in the fishing industry. It gave me a couple
of ideas. Everywhere I go I like to take a fishing rod - nearly every
seaside town has a fishing estuary."
Troy headlines the Whittlesea Country Music festival from February 10-12.
CLICK HERE for full dates in Tonk
Girl's Gig Guide.
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