IF you take the time to study Troy Cassar-Daley, a number of contradictions will surface, quicker than the flash of bass in the headwaters of his beloved Brisbane River in south-east Queensland. He's the kid from Grafton in northern NSW who did it tough with his mum, Irene, after his parents separated when he was an infant. Yet he writes and sings more poignantly about family life than anyone in the business. He was shy and sensitive as a teenager. Yet today he can hold in thrall an audience of thousands. He's been plying his trade for a lifetime (it began, according to family lore, with young Troy entertaining the dinner table with sets on a ukulele before securing a hand-me-down guitar aged 9) and has earned the right to be jaded. Yet he maintains an undiminished enthusiasm for his craft, and each album - you can sense it, feel it coming off the music - is a new adventure. As an example of this, Troy made the conscious decision not to play on Home, but to concentrate on that magnificent, evolving voice of his. It has, as is evidenced on this album, become an instrument unto itself. Troy's method of song writing also took a new direction - he stopped touring for a year prior to recording, and in between his children's school drop-offs in the city, and fishing for bass in the waters near his family farm, and cleaning up the property after one of the worst natural disasters in Queensland's history, he composed. "Right from the initial planning stages, I wanted this album to be done completely differently to anything I had recorded before. I knew that I was going to be working with the best musicians in Nashville. With this in mind it really inspired me to write songs and co-write songs that I'd be proud to record for my album. Not only that, I wanted the guys I was recording the album with to really enjoy playing on the songs and deliver the goods musically." Those remarkable players included: Biff Watson - MD, acoustic guitar and mandolin; Brent Mason - electric guitar; Eddie Bayers - drums; Michael Rhodes - bass; Steve Nathan - keys; Bryan Sutton - banjo and acoustic guitar; Stuart Duncan - fiddle; Paul Franklin - steel guitar; and John Wesley Ryles - background vocals. Ed Seay was the engineer on Home. In another departure, he produced the record himself. "I might be punching above my weight, however it's great to challenge yourself and with these players you deliver them the song demo and the chart and they add the magic," he reflects. He is singing life, the cycle of it, the passing of time and generations and all the pleasure and heartbreak that this thing called life entails. Most significantly, I think, through his generosity of spirit as a man and an artist, as a husband and father and son, he reminds us of what is real, of what matters and what doesn't. To be able to take the essence of that away from a collection of songs that are wonderfully uplifting and toe-tapping and radiant and thought provoking and that cloy on the mind and, in some cases, demand to be sung along to, is no small achievement. Home, by definition, can be many things. But one is as an abiding place of human affections. That - thankfully for us as people, and as music lovers - is precisely where Troy Cassar-Daley lives.