It may have taken a decade as a recording artist, but Troy Cassar-Daley has made what will be seen as his career defining album. It may have taken 18 months in the writing, a quick few weeks in the recording, but Brighter Day bares the scars of 36 years of living. Put simply, he wasn’t ready to make this record before now.
Like the great songwriters who have inspired him, such as Merle Haggard and Bruce Springsteen, the songs are based in fact but aren’t strictly autobiographical. There are, however, pieces of his life and loves in each note. To this end, after tracking sessions were completed, Troy went back into the studio and overdubbed his own guitar playing over session players parts to leave as much of his hand print on the recordings as possible. Indeed such was his commitment to this project that Troy bought and taught himself to play the mandolin. His picking can be heard on several tracks including the first track to radio Lonesome But Free, second single and lead track to the album Going Back Home as well as Getaway Car (the desperate tale of two young lovers at the end of a crime spree). With typical self deprecation, Troy says of his mastering of the instrument,“the mandolin playing is rough but honest in a couple of places, but that’s because I’m playing it and I think it makes it even more special.”
The album features guest vocals from such luminaries as Kasey Chambers (who is heard on Lonesome But Free and Getaway Car) and Jimmy Barnes (Walking Away), but even their distinctive voices are woven into the fabric of the songs, leaving the focus on the man whose name is on the cover.
The lessons are universal, yet the details ring so true because they have been filled with personal tales of his upbringing in the northern NSW town of Grafton and life on the road as a wide eyed country boy trying to make his mark as a musician. What he lived and saw seeps out of the songs clear and refreshing like spring water through mountain rocks.
Check out some of the reviews!
TROY CASSAR-DALEY – BRIGHTER DAY
ROLLING STONE – 4 star Review
Rather then relying on guests to garner attention, the calibre of artists who join Troy Cassar-Daley on his sixth album illustrates the respect the Grafton born singer-songwriter has earned, despite his blend of classy country flying under the radar.
Aided by rich production from Nash Chambers, Cassar-Daley collaborates with Paul Kelly and Don Walker; while Jimmy Barnes takes the mike on gentle rocker “Walking Away”, and Kasey Chambers add subtle flavour to “Lonesome But Free” and “Getaway Car”, the Badlands styled tale of lovers at the desolate end of a crime spree.
Quintessentially Australian while echoing the personal style of Bruce Springsteen, Brighter Day wonderfully evokes vivid images of country life and love.
TROY CASSAR-DALEY – BRIGHTER DAY
While a bit of Yankee flash has seen Keith Urban sidle up to the mainstream, Troy Cassar-Daley is doing it the quiet way.
Brighter Day is not so much about country-at-all-costs, but about strong songs and compelling stories, whatever path they take him down.
So Brighter day is populated by bluegrass, Springsteen-styled ballads and straight-up country rock. Paul Kelly and Don Walker co-write, and Kasey Chambers (whose brother Nash produced the album) is a welcome voice on Lonesome But Free and the spine-tingling Getaway Car. Troy even manages to match it with Barnesy on Walking Away. Now that’s skill.
Brisbane – The Courier Mail – Saturday 8/10/2005
Troy Cassar-Daley moves on with Brighter Day, an accomplished album highlighting the maturity of the 36-year old’s singing and songwriting talents. Here Cassar-Daley collects a swag of tales from his life and times and, with an ear for melding details and melody, crafts a piece of work which grabs deeper with every play. Listen long and deep for the shades, the subtleties. catch the delicate Jimmy Barnes touches on Walking Away or sweet traces of Kasey Chambers on Lonesome But Free, one of the best of the 13 tracks. There is the cajun-styled River Town, the Springsteen-toned Getaway Car and the new-aged country ballad Wanted Man, about the bushranger Thunderbolt. Throughout Cassar-Daley and producer Nash Chambers keep the momentum flowing with a mix of pace and styles. Brighter Day marks an important step on Cassar-Daley’s road to become a fine chronicler of Australian life, helped here by masters such as Paul Kelly and Don Walker. It bodes well for the next album and again showcases Chambers’ superb production values. There is a five-track, limited edition bonus disc with Brighter Day, featuring Cassar-Daley and Barnes in a compelling version of Leonard Cohen’s Bird on a Wire. That track alone s worth the price of admission.