The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY LIVE & LOUD -

Troy Cas­sar-Da­ley’s song­writ­ing life has been all about telling Aus­tralian sto­ries. Some are yarns he has heard or seen on his trav­els. And some feel very close to home.

Like the ti­tle tune of his lat­est al­bum Free­dom Ride, which re­counts the civil rights bus ride led by Char­lie Perkins in 1965.

The song was co-writ­ten with Paul Kelly and in Fe­bru­ary they joined the jour­ney com­mem­o­rat­ing the 50th an­niver­sary of the ride in western NSW.

For the Grafton-raised in­dige­nous man, the story of Perkins and the free­dom ride has been spe­cial ever since he re­searched a school project on the sub­ject more than 30 years ago.

“It’s an im­por­tant part of Aus­tralian his­tory,’’ Cas­sar-Da­ley says. “It gave peo­ple a look at the seg­re­ga­tion in those smaller towns and started peo­ple think­ing about hav­ing a ref­er­en­dum and giv­ing in­dige­nous peo­ple the vote.”

Since You Left This Town also ad­dresses racism.

“Part of it is my story, an­other part is from a mate’s story, who had a girl­friend who did run away. I’ve had the un­com­fort­able din­ner at a girl­friend’s place where I didn’t feel ex­actly wel­come.

“I’ve tried to make the story more con­tem­po­rary, about what kids might face now. Th­ese sto­ries are parts of our cul­ture and it’s im­por­tant to high­light them whether they are good or bad.’’

There are other deeply per­sonal sto­ries too. This Old Hat is about his grand­fa­ther’s Akubra hat, which sur­vived the 2011 floods on Cas­sar-Da­ley’s Lock­yer Val­ley farm. Drive It is in­spired by his pas­sion for cars and EH Hold­ens in par­tic­u­lar.

Trains have been a con­stant too. His grand­fa­ther was a fet­tler and his mother worked as a cook on the rail­ways.

“When I was writ­ing Some­thing About Trains with Pete De­nahy he said: ‘Every­thing you are com­ing up with is so real’. I told him how much time I had spent on trains and how many cher­ished mem­o­ries I had.”

Troy Cas­sar-Da­ley.

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