Album review: Troy Cassar-Daley | Things I Carry Around

Master storyteller Troy Cassar-Daley’s latest album reads as fifteen musical chapters, telling tales of life on the road and family, accompanied by multidimensional country instrumentals.  Just as his lyrics tell snippets of his life –  his compositions allow us to turn each page to find music with changes in tempo and style to emote his story.

Down the road is a rambling hand-waving gospel number with a Wurlitzer piano resonating hallelujah style, along with a tinge of saloon piano sounds and electric guitar. Similarly reflective, If my heart was a town, pulls on the heartstrings with a lonesome steel guitar.

An interesting intermission are two instrumental preludes; A cold walk home and The river is my soul – the latter a creation of just 55 seconds of banjo instrumental with the subtle sounds of Aboriginal clapping sticks, hinting of Cassar-Daley’s proud Bundjalung heritage. My Gumbaynggirr Skies is the ballad dedicated to his grandparents, in particular remembering his childhood with his Aboriginal grandmother’s family.  “Go south of the river to my grandmother’s land/she met and married a railway man …”

Brighter Day is the acoustic guitar ballad written by O great one, Paul Kelly, who coolly brushes away the country music stigma and finds gems in such country music stars as Cassar-Daley and Kasey Chambers. The title song and most heartfelt and radio friendly; Things I carry around, sings of pocketfuls of good times and regrets, and this is the reason such a long list of songs never grow tiresome, simply because they all have different light, shades, tales, melodies and instrumental arrangements – a sure sign giveaway for an everlasting musical career boasting ten studio albums.

The potential of this album is to morph into a musical A to Z show of Cassar-Daley’s life, particularly as it has been fleshed out in his newly released book of the same title. Acquire this album for your next road trip – any long journey will be sweeter for it as it transports you to another time.

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