Artist Reviews

Troy Cassar-Daley – Things I Carry Around (Book Review)

Written by Jackie Smith

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Since the release of his first EP, Dream Out Loud, in 1994 Troy Cassar-Daley’s music have captivated the hearts of millions of fans, catapulting him to international stardom and further cementing his place as a national treasure of the Australian music industry.

While he is most well known as an extraordinary music artist, with a number of ARIAs, Golden Guitars and Deadlys to his name, Cassar-Daley has only recently shared an insight into what made him the Australian icon of today, with the recent release of his debut memoir, Things I Carry Around.


Troy Cassar-Daley

Troy Cassar-Daley


Written with Tom Gilling, the book details Cassar-Daley’s early life, growing up with his Aboriginal mother in Grafton after her marriage to his Maltese-Australian father ended in divorce, and his struggles to make it as a musician when he first started out in the crazy business they call the music industry, before coming to a close in his early 20s, just after he is starting to find success as a recording artist.

In the wake of his parents’ divorce, Cassar-Daley and his mother returned to his grandparent’s house while his mother worked to provide a substantial life for herself and her young son. While times were tough financially, he credits his mother (and grandparents) for helping him become the man he is today, and the environment in which he was raised was ultimately a happy one, shared with many a cousin and uncle.

In fact, it would seem that one of the only times in which he was truly unhappy was when he lived with his father for a year or so during his primary schooling. The change from country living to the big smoke was one that Cassar-Daley struggled to adapt to, missing his extended family and the friends with whom he had grown up.

It wasn’t long before his father saw the impact this move had on the youngster and it was decided that he would return to Grafton, particularly as his grades began slipping quite rapidly. Though he was never an extraordinary student, his mood improved upon the return home, and so his marks stabilised.

While music was always at the forefront of his family life, it wasn’t really something he considered as a career. Upon finishing school, Cassar-Daley initially pursued one of his other interests, cooking. He even went so far as to complete a hospitality course at TAFE and undergo some initial training as an apprentice chef.

But this career was not one he could easily commit to, particularly as he was still trying to fit in the odd gig here and there. In this war, music won and he joined the ranks of many a struggling musician, with wages varying week to week and not knowing the next time he would enjoy a hot meal, or even own a decent car to drive to and from events.


Troy Cassar-Daley

TROY CASSAR-DALEY – “Things I Carry Around”

For a copy of Troy Cassar-Daley’s new memoir, click HERE

After a while, Cassar-Daley formed Little Eagle with a few mates. Though the band found success on the club circuit, they were stuck in a rut and eventually the members each went their own way. This presented Cassar-Daley with the opportunity to pursue solo endeavours, first landing opportunities with  Brian Young’s famous touring show – which saw him on the road for nearly 365 days a year – and later as a member of The Blue Heelers Band.

Working with The Singing Bushman in particular, he was given an apprenticeship like no other as he worked with fellow musicians and watched many a great, learning and refining his stagecraft as he went.

I approached this book as I’m sure many would, with pre-conceived ideas as to its greatness. To my relief, Things I Carry Around lives up to the hype that has been created around it.

Just as with his songs, Cassar-Daley writes with a tenderness that only he can seem to master when describing events, people and even social issues which strike or have struck a chord with him.

Examples of this are found in both his personal and professional life, such as the insight he gives into his relationship with his late grandmother and beloved uncle (as well as his wife Laurel Edwards, towards the end of the book) and the comradery he shared with Brian Young, Merle Haggard and even Willie Nelson, all of whom played their parts in introducing him to the music world on a bigger stage than he had ever seen before.

Things I Carry Around gives an insight into the life of this unique musician. Delivered with the frankness and honesty, we have come to know and love through his music, Cassar-Daley excels with his first leap into the literary world. The only question that remains is: will there be a part two?



Read our review of Troy’s latest album here

Read our interview with Troy here




Connect with Troy Cassar-Daley:

Official WebsiteFacebookTwitterYouTubeiTunes


To read more of Jackie’s work, click here

Jackie Smith

October 4th, 2016

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Jackie Smith

Jackie Smith is a freelance journalist and editor and proofreader based in Brisbane. Her career so far has seen her interview Australian music heavyweights including Brian Cadd, Glenn Shorrock, Grace Knight, Greedy Smith (Mental As Anything), Busby Marou and Stonefield, with articles appearing in Scenestr, Hush Hush Biz, AAA Backstage and cargoART Magazine. As well as having an eclectic taste in music, she enjoys theatre, literature, history, arts and culture. To see more of Jackie's work, follow her on

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