Troy and Adam keep the faith singing their greatest country songbook
SOMETIMES a song isn’t just a song. There’s a deep emotional resonance, and not just in a glib ‘‘soundtrack to my first pash’’ kind of a way. Sometimes it can be profound. So to sing such a song isn’t a claim of ownership. It’s stewardship.That’s a responsibility Troy Cassar-Daley and Adam Harvey (pictured) take very seriously. The country stars have just released The Great Country Songbook, a 20-track collection of some of the greatest country songs ever recorded, from Johnny Cash’s I Walk The Line to Hank William’s Hey Good Lookin’ and first single, the Slim Dusty classic Lights On The Hill, plus tracks from Merle Haggard, Glen Campbell, George Jones, Willie Nelson, John Denver and many more. And they didn’t mess with any of them. ‘‘I’ve heard people record classic country songs and they try to rearrange them and change them all around, but to me that’s sacrilege,’’ Harvey says. The project grew out of a deep regard the pair had for the songs and a shared need to play them on stage. So they did a few shows together over the years, but that just made fans hungrier. ‘‘People’d say, ‘Can we have a T-shirt?’ and ‘Where’s the album?’ so I finally said to Harvs, ‘Mate, we’ve gotta do this’, ’’ Cassar-Daley says. ‘‘So we started to put a list together on the back of beer coasters and suddenly we had 127 songs.’’ Backing up the album, Cassar-Daley and Harvey are touring together. ‘‘I first saw Adam sing when we were both on the same bill with Don Williams,’’ Cassar-Daley says. ‘‘I remember thinking to myself, ‘Wow there’s hope for all of us if a young bloke can sing like that’ because it sounded so traditionally country. As we got to know each other, we’d sit in a corner together at rehearsals for award nights or whatever, and when you’re doing rehearsals for stuff like the Golden Guitars there can be a lot of sitting around, so you might as well grab the guitar,’’ he says. ‘‘And backstage at festivals we’d do the same, just hide in a corner singing our favourite songs, so that’s where that came from. We eventually thought, ‘Why don’t we do a show?’ ’’ Harvey says. Each song is precious to them, as they are to the musicians who played on the album and tour with them. Collaboration and stewardship are key to the country way. ‘‘Unless you really love the music and believe in it, you can’t go out and just pretend,’’ Harvey says. ‘‘With country music, we’ve all paid our dues, we all started out by busking on the street and I think that’s because in country music, you don’t have those TV shows where bang, suddenly you’re an instant superstar.’’
Troy Cassar-Daley plays tomorrow (at the Gympie Muster, which runs from today until Sunday. Troy Cassar-Daley and Adam Harvey play Twin Towns on November 9.