By Rebecca Belt
TROY Cassar-Daley takes to the stage for his traditional Tamworth Country Music Festival concert with mates at TRECC from 4pm today, Thursday, January 24, but with a difference.
As well as the usual array of surprise guests, it will be a special experience for the audience with Troy performing acoustically without a band.
“This concert will set the tone for what happens on the road this year,” the multi-award winning artist said.
“There is a myriad of guests coming, but the intimacy of an acoustic show is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.”
The Tamworth festival favourite said the litmus test for how the tour would go was a recent concert at Twins Towns, which was a major success.
“It’s about whether you feel confident enough to get in there and do it, but people love music and love to hear the honest and raw part of it as well because that’s the way the song is born,” Troy said.
“You’re showing them the way it came into the world like showing them the baby wrapped in a blanket.”
Today’s Tamworth show will involve Troy and his mates talking about a song and playing it together on stage.
“It’s a real privilege to put this show on and always is,” he said.
“I am doing a fair bit of listening of iTunes and brushing on some lyrics I haven’t sung in a long time, but it’s great for the brain, so you know you can continue to learn. These artists are such masterful songwriters and I’ve grown to love their lyrics even more now that I’m studying them closer.”
One artist Troy can name on the show is his wife, Laurel, who he loves singing with.
The Queensland artist said the biggest highlight of the Tamworth Country Music Festival for him was the cross-pollination that happens when artists jump out of the crowd and onto the stage to collaborate with other performers.
“That is something I’ve always loved about coming here,” Troy said.
One such gig was Pete Denahy with the Travellin’ Country Band at The Pub that Troy was a surprise guest on, after Pete spotted him in the crowd. He performed Joy McKean’s classic, Indian Pacific.
“This town should be really proud of the stories these songwriters are coming up with,” he said.
Troy is also a finalist in the Golden Guitar Awards in Heritage Song of the Year for Shadows on the Hill.
“I’m always looking forward to the awards,” he said.
“I’m more than excited for Shadows on the Hill because it was written from being with the men in my family, sitting around talking about the history of our area. It was a history that I was keen to learn about, so I was driving home and by myself in the car, and I wrote the song like a jigsaw puzzle all the way home.”
The multi-Golden Guitar winner said he loved going to the Golden Guitar Awards even when he wasn’t a finalist.
“The celebration of the music is a really big part of the night,” he said.
Troy will make a flying visit out of Tamworth on Saturday to play at a Australia Day celebration for Terri Irwin at Australia Zoo before getting back to the Country Music Capital for the night of nights.
Following his headline show and the awards, Troy will morph into Tex Dubbo at The Longyard on Sunday, January 27, with his band Michel Rose, Vaughan Jones, Simon Johnson, and Bradley Bergen on drums.
“The Tex Dubbo show is more of a friends catch up and people enjoy that there’s no compass on the boat,” he said.
“There are no originals and we just go wherever it takes us and turns into something really unique for me. I love the little bit of tradition that we set up every two years.”
Troy’s tour, including his daughter Jem opening for him, begins in Geelong and Warrnambool.
“Jem will be going to places that she’s never seen,” he said.
“Graduating from The Academy was such an experience for her – a kid who is about to turn 18 – and she’s really excited about the tour because she’s catching up with other graduates as we travel around.”