"She 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

It 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.

"I pulled up at a service station in Wee Waa and saw this young woman fuelling up her car," Troy, 40, told Nu Country TV.

"It 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.


"He 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

The Grafton raised singer hooked up with fellow NSW rural refugee Colin Buchanan at his farm and sowed the seeds of a richer crop.

Buchanan, 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."

Troy produced 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 concert.

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.


"Have 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 host revealed.

"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."


"Have 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.

The singer 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."


"From 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.

The singer credits fellow pre-teen Tamworth busker and latter day expatriate Australasian superstar Keith Urban for the disc's entrée single and video.

"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.'

"He 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."

Cassar-Daley confessed that both the Cassar-Daley and Urban spouses and offspring inspired the song.

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 named Nicole.

"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."


Instead the singer gave the new father free paternal advice.

"He asked me a lot about the balance of family and career," Troy revealed.

"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.'


"She 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.

Cassar-Daley 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."


"I've 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 Austen.

Cassar-Daley 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.

There 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," Troy revealed.

"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."

Equally vivid 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."


"Headin' 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.

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," Troy said.

"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."


"Rally 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

The 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 bush employer.

"I have vivid memories of many agricultural shows and boxing troupes," Cassar-Daley.

"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.'


"Just 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.

Bush sojourns 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."


Meanwhile 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 a while.

"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 says.

"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 Records.

CLICK HERE to win your autographed copies of this acclaimed album on our
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CLICK HERE for a previous interview with Troy in our Diary on July 24, 2007.
CLICK HERE for Tonkgirl's Gig Guide for Troy Tour dates.

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