This album had its genesis in a tour undertaken by Troy Cassar-Daley and Adam Harvey about two or three years ago. I saw one of the shows on that tour and it was one of the best gigs I’d ever seen. Troy and Adam were having so much fun – it seemed as though, in covering other people’s songs instead of playing their own, the pressure was off and they could be two musicians – and friends – together.
The idea for the tour was genius: two of Australian country music’s biggest names playing the mainly American country music songs they loved. Some of the songs were obscure – in fact, many of them would only have been known to people who had the same extensive knowledge of the genre as Troy and Adam. But that didn’t matter, because the two men revealed themselves to be great performers no matter whose songs they were singing and the music flowed easily all night.
That same spirit of collaboration and pure joy in music is evident on The Great Country Song Book, which now stands as a record of that genius tour idea. There is a great range of songs to satisfy anyone who loves any kind of country music – there is Slim Dusty’s ‘Lights on the Hill’, Johnny Cash’s ‘I Walk the Line’ and Glen Campbell’s ‘Rhinestone Cowboy’ mixed in with some Lefty Frizell, Merle Haggard and Hank Williams songs, amongst others.
This is undoubtedly an album that many Australian country music fans will buy simply because of the two names attached to it, but it’s also worth buying for what’s on the album itself: the sound of two of our greatest singer-songwriters relishing the chance to sing classic songs written by others and the opportunity to let themselves just be singers and fans. There is a lot of joy on this album just as there was in the show that night – and, no doubt, it won’t the last such collaboration from Troy Cassar-Daley and Adam Harvey. After all, when you’re onto a good thing …