Jimmy Barnes has chosen a Troy Cassar-Daley penned song as the first single off his upcoming new album My Criminal Record.
Jimmy Barnes has chosen a Troy Cassar-Daley penned song as the first single off his upcoming new album My Criminal Record.

The Troy Cassar-Daley tribute that hit home for Barnesy

YOU won't find a better example of the newfound subtlety and strength in Jimmy Barnes's voice than on 'Shutting Down Our Town', the first single off his long-awaited studio album My Criminal Record.

And although the song is about his childhood hometown in Elizabeth, South Australia, it was penned by the Clarence Valley's own musical superstar Troy Cassar-Daley.

So moved was Troy after reading Barnes's Working Class Boy he wrote the track specially for Barnes and to his delight, the rock icon was just as moved by the result.

"I changed a couple of words just because of local knowledge, but it was 99.999% Troy's song, and he played it to me and I immediately felt the connection,” Barnes said.

Barnes inhabits the song as fully as he inhabited the place he grew up in, the place that was very much on the wrong side of the tracks in North Adelaide.

"Everything I knew was back there on those streets,

Every lesson learned kept me on my feet,

But I can't help thinking of the ones I left behind,” the Cassar-Daley lyrics read.

"I drove through Elizabeth not long after I heard the song, and I felt a pain in my heart for the people there who are battling, trying to make a living when everything is stacked up against them.

"It's sort of a heartland 'Working Class Man' anthem, but 'Working Class Man' was written by an American (Jonathan Cain).

"This was written by somebody (Cassar-Daley) who feels the pain, and who's writing about the darker side of Australia which I never wanted to face before. So it's like the bookend to 'Working Class Man', but for me, it's the real story.”

Troy Cassar-Daley wrote Shutting Down Our Town for Jimmy Barnes after reading Working Class Boy.
Troy Cassar-Daley wrote Shutting Down Our Town for Jimmy Barnes after reading Working Class Boy.

Jimmy is singing maybe better than he ever has. He explains that he is better in touch with the emotions in the songs, and better able to express them as a result. The raw power and volume is still there, but it's modulated by a new self-knowledge and sensitivity.

It's a result of being older, smarter and healthier according to Barnes who has distilled and expanded upon his two best-selling memoirs to create 13 pieces of buring heartland rock and roll that will reasonate with anyone who has ever found themselves standing on the outside, looking in.

"Now, I know why I'm singing it. I know why I'm feeling it. I know why I have to get it out now, and writing the books helped me identify it. I still sing about the same things, but now I know exactly what I'm singing about.”

My Criminal Record is Jimmy's seventeenth solo studio album, and his first rock album since 2010's Rage And Ruin. The album was written by Jimmy, with significant assistance from another son of Grafton and his oldest sparring partner, Cold Chisel's Don Walker, whose name appears on six of the tracks.

Other outstanding contributions also come from close friends Mark Lizotte (aka Diesel), and The Living End's Chris Cheney.

  • Jimmy Barnes's My Criminal Record will be released on May 31 through Bloodlines.


REPORT: Quiet week at Grafton saleyards

Premium Content REPORT: Quiet week at Grafton saleyards

With one processor sitting out, it was a cheaper day at the weekly sales

Former Yamba Waratah’s mum says club “shafted” her son

Premium Content Former Yamba Waratah’s mum says club “shafted” her son

Debbie Holloway has lashed the club on their Facebook page following his departure...

ARTEFACTS: Exciting summer sensations

Premium Content ARTEFACTS: Exciting summer sensations

Summer Sensations celebrates artists and their wonderful creative contribution to...