The Great Country Song Book
One of the most popular albums released this year has been 'The Great Country Song Book,' from two Aussie country superstars, Troy Cassar-Daley and Adam Harvey.
Troy and Adam talk to Steve Rake, from Country All Over, about the album and the tour.
Hi guys and thanks for taking the time to talk to us. Can we start by asking how the idea for the “The Great Country Song Book” came about? And how did it become a joint venture?
Troy: This project started by writing our favourite country songs of all time on
coasters for a show we wanted to do on a weekend we both had free, and it grew
the tracks for the album…was there a song you had to have on the album…no ifs
or buts? And why?
Troy: Yes Lights on the hill,
We both love Slim and this song in particular featured in both our childhoods. This song won the first ever Golden Guitar 41 years ago and is part of the fabric of our nation. We wanted to pay homage to an iconic man, his wife and her amazing song.
Adam... Absolutely. Old Dogs and Children and Watermelon Wine by Tom.T.Hall. (I know his brother Empty.Hall pretty well!) I have always loved this song and it was the first tune I learnt to play. That song is the reason I'm a country singer today.
How difficult was it to dilute the song list down to the final selections? And were there any songs that didn’t make the cut due to, how can I put this…”differences of opinion”?
Troy: This final list was hard to come up with because a great country songbook can have thousands of songs, we just kept the decisions as close to our hearts as possible. We had to love the song for it to get a jersey!
Adam... Troy and I were both on the same page with the song list. We each agreed that we had a few special songs that just had to be on the album. Then we looked through the history of country music and picked the biggest hits from the biggest country stars. Troy was a bit disappointed that I wouldn't let him record Private Dancer by Tina Turner.
And all the songs are very true to the original versions…was this a conscious decision when undertaking the project?
Troy: We had a rule in the studio about arrangements , if it ain't broke don't fix it.
Adam...yes it was a deliberate plan to record these songs as close to the originals as possible. I have heard other versions of classic country hits where the artist has decided to change or re-arrange their version from the original. I think it takes away from what made those songs great in the first place.
You have taken the show on the road and will be again, soon…what is the best part about performing these songs together, live?
Troy: The set is an amazing bunch of tunes to sing and the laughter is infectious !!
Adam...I think Troy is the best country singer in Australia so it's always a real pleasure to sing on stage with him. I love to look out in the crowd and watch them sing along to every song. It's like a trip down memory lane for everyone, including Troy and I. Those great old songs take you back to where you were when you first heard them.
We would think that with these songs and performing them live, the audiences would find it hard not to sing along…how have the audience reactions been to a show full of country covers?
Troy: There is not one tune on this record that most people couldn't sing along to, the audiences have responded great and are loud to boot!
Adam... the reaction has been fantastic. The biggest request is... "when are you guys going to record volume 2"
And we'll come to that Adam, so keep that thought. Do you play any of your own originals, or do you keep it to the Song Book covers?
Troy: Nope all songbook and its
perfect that way.
Adam...No. The whole point of this show is to play the classics. Troy and I onstage together paying tribute to our county heroes.
While touring together, are there any things you’ve discovered about each other, that you can share with us? E.g. Pre-show superstitions
Troy: Adam likes a good rubdown like a footy player gets but it's been getting harder and harder to find a masseuse that will do them!
Adam... Troy likes to relax after the show by waxing my back..which took some getting used to at first...Only Joking! Troy is a great bloke and he is always laughing and joking around. Its infectious and I love touring with him.
Has the success of the album surprised you, straight to the top of the charts!?
Troy: Yes we were pleasantly surprised at the charts and sales.... but it just proves that people love traditional country Music and that inspires me.
Adam... the reaction to this album by the country music fan base has been amazing. I guess it's testament to those great old songs...people still love 'em and want to hear them. I think people will still be asking for those songs in another 100 years!
And are there plans for a volume two? (We are all really hoping so!)
Troy: Not sure but won't say no because this has been so much fun to make.
Adam... Yes for sure. Troy and I want to record our own projects next year, but I think we will record Vol 2 down the track. Making the first album was just too much fun to be a one off!
Well we sure hope it happens! And we look forward to seeing you both on the road with "The Great Country Song Book".
Interview by Steve Rake
20 October 2013