Things I Carry Around

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Funny How Things Change (written by Troy, Don Walker and Colin Buchanan)
This tune takes me back to the more simple times in my life, when I drove an old car because that’s all that I could afford to run and maintain. It was a time when I never liked change much but embraced it every time it came along for some reason.

Moving from home at Halfway Creek to Tamworth then onto Maryborough were huge changes for me, but I loved the new feeling of a fresh start and that’s what kept me going. I left each place with memories and a few bruised and broken hearts but that was just the beginning of the adventure, the dreams kept coming and so did the many roads to travel. I still don’t take to change well but always look back and appreciate it.

Halfway Creek Timber Cutting Man (written by Troy)
I loved my time cutting fence posts with Tony Wall, it was hard work but Tony made it bearable because he was great company. We could talk about anything and we did, I think I solved a lot yarning with Tony without even knowing. I’m glad he kept me off the chainsaw as I was always pretty shitty with it around home and I still have all my fingers! Halfway Creek is a very special place to me and a lot of people, parts of me still swim the Orara on the back road, fish for elated catfish and hunt for wallaby. Halfway Creek will always be a part of me.

Things I Carry Around (written by Troy, Don Sampson and Wynn Varble)
We all hold on to certain things I guess, and I for one am a memory hoarder! But it’s these memories that have shaped who I turned out to be. I have an old coin my Uncle Buddy gave me years ago in his birth year 1957 that has been through many of my wallets and travelled all over the world with me. Pictures of Laurel, Clay and Jem always do the miles, and pics of Mum and Dad and my Grandparents are there for the times when I’m in need something to remind me of where I’m from and help me remember where I’m headed. We all carry this stuff with us so don’t be afraid every now and then to share it again with loved ones, it brings us closer together.

Brighter Day (written by Troy and Paul Kelly)
When I wrote this song with Paul Kelly I had one person in mind, My Uncle Hoppy, I was very young when he died but his memory that lives in all his surviving siblings remains a source of inspiration and mystery for me. His story is sad like this song but I wanted to sing it with Laurel to pay homage to his memory because I think as a child I may have given a little bit of Hoppy back to his Mother (my Nan) I was blonde like him and Nan was like a second Mum to me. I can’t imagine the pain Nan, Pop and the family went through after losing him, but I hope Hoppy found his Brighter Day, because all he ever seemed to have was darkness.

When My Daddy Played (written by Troy)
My Dad, Tony Cassar, is an amazing dad to me and grandfather to my kids. My childhood visits to Sydney always started with tears because I missed my Grafton Mob, but Dad didn’t make a fuss, he simply got out his old guitar and harmonica and made up little songs for me until I went to sleep. I will never forget the sound that came out of it, soft, low and sweet like a gentle voice and that voice speaks to me still every time I hold a guitar close to me and play it. Thanks Dad for making me feel like I belonged anywhere you took me. The music you played me started something that I believe was very special in me as a child, now I simply can’t walk past a guitar without giving it a strum thanks to you.

Country Music’s Coming To Town (written by Troy)
My first country music show was Rick and Thel Carey at the school of arts hall South Grafton with My Mum, Nan and lots of cousins. I never forgot the feeling of our little town’s excitement at the prospect of having country entertainment that was coming our way. When I ended up on the Brian Young show for that 9 month tour I got to see this excitement from the entertainer’s point of view. I knew then we had stepped into something that was a beautiful Australian tradition, we were travelling showmen, thanks to Slim Dusty, Joy McKean, Brian Young and all of their generation for clearing the track that we walk on today.

On My Way Back Around (written by Troy and Don Walker)
My early days of touring with Little Eagle and the Blue Healer band got me addicted to the road. I couldn’t wait to get in the car and head to the next destination with a coffee and guitar in hand, sometimes waking up in some strange girls house I’d met the night before or just another motel. One morning I found myself hitch hiking from Woolgoolga back to Grafton after my band got sick of waiting for me. Touring is still a big part of what I do but I’m glad I now have a family to come home to, it makes the journey worth ever mile.

My Gumbaynggirr Skies (written by Troy)
Some of my earliest childhood memories are held in a place called Cangai in NSW. I remember camping up there with all our family fishing, laughing, making spears and hearing stories around the camp fire. We had no cameras so the only still shots we have are our memories,. My Mum and her whole family shaped a lot of things about me I carry within no matter where I go or live. This song sends love to all my Gumbaynggirr people South of the Clarence River.

Smoked With Willie and Merle (written by Troy)
Writing this book made realise there are some things I’m proud of doing and some not so much, but some experiences were things that were quite unique. Yes I toured with the Highwaymen and Merle Haggard and I never expected to even meet them let alone play shows with them. They were everything you would expect or dream your heroes to Me, and I will never forget them.

Down The Road (written by Troy and Don Walker)
This song takes me to the town of Tabula, Northern NSW with family in a car heading up to a Christian Rally where Pastor Frank Roberts would speak and amazing music would play. Uncle Freddy, Aunty Caroline, Carmen, Melissa and me would head up when these gatherings happened. I was mesmerised by the songs and the people and always came away happy. We will meet again one day in a place where the roses never fade.

If My Heart Was A Town (written by Troy and Don Walker)
Think of your first heavily broken heart and times it by ten! That was me at 17 thinking my world was going to end and that I was the only person that had ever felt this way. Well I was wrong, we have all felt this pain and first love is such a mine field of emotion and happens to us all. Thanks Mum for the yarns and cuddles while I was finding my way.

Running (written by Troy)
Cars were a huge source of escapism in my teens. If you had one everyone helped you with it and you might as well have had a rocket to the moon it was that exciting.
We wanted big wheels, big engines and shiny paint. That was our escape from the everyday in a small town, petrol, rubber, steel and girls, that’s what our dreams were made of.

My First Night Alone (written by Troy and Angela Kaset)
My Dad explained his first night alone to me while we were on a cruise once, he talked about how he and Mum had separated and Mum took me as a baby back to Grafton. He said all he felt was devastation. I wrote this song years ago not thinking that the emotions of the tune were similar to what Dad went through and I know he still has trouble yarning about it, but talking to my Dad man to man has taught me so much about life and I’m thankful to have had the chance to do it.

Certified Railway Man (written by Troy and Colin Buchanan)
Growing up in South Grafton we were railway people, part of a big blue collar family that stuck by each other and helped out where ever we could. Trains have been a huge part of my life thanks to Mum, Pop Daley and Gerry Daley and all our friends we’ve met through the trains. This song is a tribute to all that worked on them or just simply love them!

Blue Lights (written by Troy and Don Walker)
I’ve never done a poem on an album before, but this is a song Don Walker and I had been working on for my Uncle Hoppy (Ronald Daley) whose story is one of tragedy and sadness . I tried singing it a few times and then decided it had more meaning simply as spoken word, finally I felt the rain on my face and the chill in the air as the blue lights were approaching off in the distance.