Bringing new songs and a new sound, beloved country musician Troy Cassar-Daley is about to release his new album, The World Today.
Scheduled for release on March 19, The World Today is a step away from Cassar-Daley’s usual style.
Created during COVID-19 lockdowns, the album mixes frustration, anger, grief, sadness, love and passion with a touch of rock-and-roll.
Themes featured on the record include COVID-19, the Black Lives Matter movement and the rising protest around Aboriginal deaths in custody and overrepresentation in the prison system. The World Today also touches on stories of Cassar-Daley’s own family and stories of manhood and fatherhood.
“It made me want to write my way out of it and find some light,” Cassar-Daley told NIT.
Losing his father prior to COVID-19 and having his gigs cancelled, Cassar-Daley found comfort in writing.
“There was a turning point, I got about four emails in a row each day at the beginning of the lockdown in Brisbane and they were all about my gigs being cancelled,” he said.
“I thought to myself, what do I do? I can’t travel, I can’t play, all the things have stopped, I had to do something.”
“I went down to the studio and I took it out on the drums and the bass and I realised I had time so might as well start making music. I’ve never done it like that before.”
Spending two weeks in isolation during recording, Cassar-Daley was confronted by the harshness of disconnection.
“I was burnt out, I felt stuck, I was going straight from the studio to the motel. In the second week, I found myself breaking down. But I think it was the release I needed, in the troubles I had,” he said.
“It’s emotional making music, you don’t just walk in and sing. If you want to give people what they need in a record, you have to walk in and give them everything you got. And I felt like I left it all in there.”
Country music has been a long-time passion of Cassar-Daley’s, he says The World Today asked him to step out of his comfort zone and tell stories he hasn’t before.
“I went to my men’s camp and one of my young cousins told me your comfort zone is not your friend. It sounds like a tacky motivational quote. But he was right,” he said.
“It’s not your friend, you don’t grow in it. I decided with this record, when I got the chance to really build it, I wanted to make sure I felt growth and that I did test myself.
“There are going to be a lot of people who think it’s a different record for me, but it had to be made. There are so many stories that had to be told and they’ve been living in me for a long time, finally they had a chance to see the light of day.”
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Despite being one of Australia’s most prominent country music artists, Cassar-Daley said his most significant and important role has been being a role model to younger generations.
“I want to see incarceration rates down, I want to see more care around how we deal with our jarjums (kids), we have to keep them off the streets and out of trouble,” he said.
“Our most important job, whether you be a journalist or a musician, is to be a parent. It’s the most important moment of your life when you become a parent … watching two little tiny jarjums go from that to adults is such an adventure and it makes you so proud.
“I saw that pride in my mum and sad, even though they split up, and I saw it in my grandparents. I saw my grandfather work hard on the railway and my grandmother raise nine kids and I always knew that was what I wanted to be, even when I was tiny.”
With jarjums in mind, Cassar-Daley has hope for the future, for Reconciliation and unity.
“The song The World Today. I rang my mum after the first time she heard it and she said, ‘Well what are you going to do for the world today, son?’ I thought, ‘Here we go, coming back to bite me.’,” he said.
“But it is true, it’s the question that needs to be asked.
“I have always had a burning hope for Reconciliation. I’m never giving up. I know we can have some sort of a meet-in-the-middle place. It has to take a lot of truth.”
Cassar-Daley believes that truth, in all its forms, is the way forward.
“No other word will bring us together other than truth. I have read a lot of things that have been white accounts of things the pioneers wrote down, I’ve heard the lies and I’ve heard the truth,” he said.
“We owe it to ourselves to be educated, if we don’t educate ourselves — it’s us and them forever. I would say that my hope for the country we live in and our people as Australians is to come together for better.”
By Rachael Knowles