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Things I Carry Around - Book Review

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by Susan J Bowes (subscribe)
Writing for pleasure to showcase the best Australia has on offer.
Published February 5th 2017
Captivating read from an honest heart
I mainly read non-fiction books, real life stories and biographies that capture my imagination through the events that unfold in the story told. So, when I heard Troy Cassar-Daley had written a book about his life, I was intent on learning what it was like for an indigenous multicultural Australian to break into the music scene and become the success he is today.

I didn't know much about Troy apart from following his music, attending some concerts and hearing tip-bits about his life through his wife Laurel on my favourite radio station 4KQ. Troy is from a Maltese/Aboriginal background having lived most of his young life with his mother and extended family around the Grafton area. I always wondered where the hyphenated name came from and through reading the book I learnt that Cassar was his father's surname and the name Troy lived by for the first fourteen years of his life when at that time, he changed his name by deed poll to include the "Daley" side of his indigenous culture.

Aboriginal, Culture, Concerts, Music, Country Music, Chermside, Book Reviews
Book Cover from Things I Carry Around (Author's photo)


His mother Irene worked long hours in the railways to support herself and Troy and eventually could purchase a house on acreage outside of Grafton. This was one of the attributes Troy learnt early in life, that if you work hard, then goals can be achieved.

At the end of some chapters in the book, words of songs are shown. These relate to a past chapter or a poignant memory that had a profound effect on his life. One of those songs is "Bean Pickin' Blues", where he remembers a joyous time in his life when he went bean picking with his Nan to make some extra money. His Nan had made him a bag with shoulder strap, embroidered with his name for collecting the beans.

Becoming a notable music star isn't as easy as you may envisage. Troy's first band was made up of family members and they played in clubs around their local area. Needing money to live and play at night, Troy took on other jobs such as a chef hand and cutting ironbark for fence posts. One of his first talent quests won him $100 in the solo section and although a boost to his esteem, it was far from the reality of his chosen dream.

Aboriginal, Culture, Music, Concerts, Entertainment, Country Music
Album - Things I Carry Around (Photo courtesy of Troy Cassar-Daley Website)


A break came through an introduction in Tamworth to Brian Young. Twelve months after the initial meeting, Troy was asked if he wanted to go on tour with him and his group through Queensland, Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia. The whole tour took approximately nine months and visited some amazing indigenous communities in outback Australia. Other tours were to eventuate like the support act for The Highwaymen Tour of Australia, which included Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson.

There are far too many amazing incidents to relate in this article, but there is one that touched a cord in my soul. It was the time Troy lived in my hometown of Maryborough and played with the Blue Heeler Band. I think most people would have fond memories of their hometown and any story relating to it would arouse an interest, especially when my high school colleague was also in the band.

Throughout the book, there was never a moment when I felt the story wasn't true to his word as he related chapters of his life in detail with honesty and integrity. I felt humbled by such an accurate and truthful account of a life full of the simplest of pleasures yet with a bountiful account of adventures on the road as a budding country star. From start to finish, Troy takes the reader on a journey from hardships to finding who he truly was, to love, to pride, successes and accomplishes and admiration of the ones who paved the way for his journey to begin.

After reading the book, I can't imagine anyone not wanting to race out and buy all of Troy's albums because, as a country star, Troy puts his life into his songs.

Aboriginal, Culture, Music, Concerts, Entertainment, Chermside
Don't miss out in securing your ticket to Troy's next concert (Author's photo) Authentic ticket has attendee's name and seat allocation


Following on from the book, Troy is performing the songs from his album "Things I Carry Around" at the Kedron-Wavell Services Club on Thursday 20th July at 8.00pm. If you are anything like me, you will have your ticket already, but if not, seats are filling up so you will want to get in soon to secure a good seat.

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Why? Follow the life of Troy Cassar-Daly through his book and music
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