A 'living treasure' of Australian country music, the truly gifted musician and storyteller, Troy Cassar-Daley has always had a fierce connection to family and his culture and in his autobiography which was released last week, Cassar-Daley shares the stories that have made him who he is today.
DIscussing his childhood, Cassar-Daley told Radio National that music was an escape for him. Growing up with a Maltese Australian father who lived in Sydney city and an Aboriginal mother in Grafton, music helped him make sense of living in two different worlds. "I had some dysfunction in my family, living between Mum and Dad. I found that a hard tightrope to walk for a while."
Cassar-Daley describes how his father would help to ease him with music when he came to visit during school holidays ."Dad would play music to me when I was crying for Mum, I would get down here for school holidays (Sydney) and would be upset wanting to go back to Grafton, and he would bring out the guitar and make up songs with my name in them and it made me feel like I belonged. And that is what music has been since that day."
Known for baring his heart on stage, fans will be interested to hear the stories that have shaped his life, the good the bad and in between. Cassar-Daley has shared what he believes are the moments that define your path, such as a time that he wanted to shoot his stepfather.
"I was reasonably good with a gun and it was encouraged because rabbit and kangaroo shooting was a big part of our life. Being indigenous, we liked surviving off what we could get ... it was a rite of passage as kids," Cassar-Daley told AAP. "But I was at that pivotal point in life where I hated someone as much as I did that I was prepared to do something like that, like hold a gun and not even be scared. I wasn't even shaken by the whole thought about it."
"A lot of people tend to write autobiographies later in life, but I thought at 47, my memory is still okay and I can still remember plenty of stuff" Troy joked with the hosts of NITV's League Nation Live last Tuesday night ahead of his performance on the show. "There's a lot of stories from my childhood, right from day dot. There's some confronting stuff in there too, not everyone's life is a walk in the park, but i find it's nice to be able to come through the other end, look back and think of it fondly."
Troy says that felt the book was timely and has posted on his Facebook page a message to his supporters.
Writing my story was quite a journey emotionally and made me remember things I had tucked away thinking they were gone for good. Revisiting those memories were a trial at times. I know it's honest and may make you laugh and cry at some of the things I did or went through, but most of all its my story, through my eyes, told the only way I know best.
Cassar-Daley has also released an album which was inspired by the writing of the book.
In the opening of the title track to Things I Carry Around Cassar-Daley alludes to the reflective nature of the album:
That Old Timer knife my grandpa gave to me, has worn a hole in a hundred pairs of jeans / And this old keychain, I should have thrown away by now / Are some of the things I carry around
Don't miss tonight's episode of The Point with host Stan Grant is joined by Troy Cassar-Daley to discuss his book and more. 9pm NITV.