Troy Cassar-Daley's forgotten year of music in Lismore
COUNTRY music icon Troy Cassar-Daley won Album of the Year at the Golden guitar Awards in Tamworth last month.
The win relates to the artist's latest album, Freedom Rise, an auto-biographical release accompanied by a book called Things I Carry Around.
After more than six months touring the country, Cassar-Daley said promoting the album had helped him remember stories that did not make it to the book.
One of them was the year he lived in Lismore.
"The booked covered my life year by year, but I sat with my kids last year talking about what I was up to when I was 16, 17, 18 and 19, those formative years," he said.
"The book was finished and it was already in the press, and I realised I forgot about a year or 18 months I spent in and around Lismore.
The country music artist spent just over a year in Lismore between 1988-1989.
"I had just finished a TAFE course, I was going to be a cook, but I really wanted to do this music recording course.
"I went on the dole for two months before I started working for a band again so I had not been in unemployment benefits for long enough to get into this (recording) course.
"My uncle, who worked at the CES (the old Commonwealth Employment Service) said he would put a word in for me.
"I was so lucky to get into the course, because it was done by a fellow called Peter Miller who runs a music shop in Lismore."
Cassar-Daley said the learning experience marked his music aspirations.
"It was the most informative music year that I had in my life to that date, and I got to meet some wonderful people who were really talented and did the course with me," he said.
"I didn't even remember to put it down in the book, for some reason it escaped me."
Cassar-Daley lived in Lismore with his aunty Joanne Randall.
"We lived in Ubrihien St, near SCU, back when the main campus was downtown," he recalled.
"I rented a room from my aunty and her husband.
"I used to go early in the morning with my cousin to surf at Lennox Head, so there are all these memories I have from this time, because it was a very interesting time of my life."
When asked if the account of his time in Lismore would make it into a possible sequel to Things I Carry Around, the artist was reflective about the idea of another biography book.
"I think it proves that I spent more time on the North Coast than I realised, because it was such an important time of growth for me, coming from Grafton," he said.
Things I Carry Around is like opening up a large suitcase and having memories and family pictures and sounds and scents and tears and laughter and heartbreak all tumble out around you; a case full of life in all its variations.
The opening track, Funny How Things Change, sets the tone, harking back to simpler times when Troy used to fire up his old HD Holden and hit the road.
Brighter Day, a ballad written with Paul Kelly about Troy's Uncle Hoppy, a man always down on his luck, contains one of the artist's greatest strengths: his ability to simultaneously chart hope and despair, and remind us that we are all human.
- At the Casino RSM tomorrow Thursday from 7.30pm.