Jason Ankeny, Rovi
Jason Birchmeier, Rovi
Evan C. Gutierrez, Rovi
Cassar-Daley was born to an aboriginal mother and a Maltese father and spent his childhood split between them. With his mother he lived in the town of Grafton, in country New South Wales. With his father he lived in Sydney, the state's capital city. Somewhere between the two he visited the Tamworth Country Music Festival as a boy and found his life permanently changed. Soon after, he taught himself the guitar and was busking outside a music shop, although he only knew four songs and had to repeat them to fill the 15 minutes the store allowed him.
As a teenager, Cassar-Daley formed a band called Little Eagle, who made the top ten finalists of Tamworth's Star Maker Quest and later won the Search for a Star competition. After touring outback Australia with Brian Young, he returned to Grafton to become lead singer of the Blue Heeler Band, filling a position vacated by James Blundell, who went on to a successful solo career.
Cassar-Daley recorded the song "Dream Out Loud" without the aid of a band, and it was released by Sony Music in 1995. It rose to number one on the Australian country music charts and was quickly followed by his popular album Beyond the Dancing, which won the ARIA Award for Best Country Record and a Golden Guitar for Best Male Vocal at Tamworth.
His follow-up, 1997's True Believer, won him three more Golden Guitars. Each successive release would win him more accolades and he was a regular at Tamworth with Big River in 1999, Long Way Home in 2002, Borrowed & Blue -- which featured several covers and duets, including songs with Paul Kelly and Ian Moss -- in 2004, and Brighter Day in 2005.
Cassar-Daley appeared on two seasons of It Takes Two, a televised singing competition that pairs professional performers with celebrities. In 2007 he released a greatest-hits collection named after his song "Born to Survive."
Jody Macgregor, Rovi
Through most of the '70s, Williamson didn't plan on making his musical career a lifetime choice, though he did work full-time at it. By the '80s he had settled into the business and with roots like the ones he has laid down, he probably won't be leaving anytime soon. That's something I'm sure his fans are pleased to know, as if they had any doubts.
In the last decade, Williamson has begun to share his music with new fans in other countries, like England. Also, with the Internet cutting across seas and oceans within seconds, his many albums are little more than a click away from people all over the world. "Love Is a Good Woman," "True Blue," "Home Among the Gum Trees," "Prettiest Girl in the Kimberley," "This Is Australia Calling," "Raining of the Rock," and "Rosewood Hill" are a few of the hundreds of tunes that both old and new fans can try out from some of Williamson's albums.
Charlotte Dillon, Rovi
They came together in Adelaide during September 1973 on the initiative of guitarist/singer Ian Moss. In the beginning, the band used a different name for every performance. After they used the name of the Don Walker song "Cold Chisel" for one particular performance, that name stuck. Keyboard player Walker gradually came up with a strong catalog of songs to match the group's tough rock reputation on-stage, centered mainly on their raw-voiced, vodka-swilling dripping-with-sweat singer Jimmy Barnes. At the start of 1977, the band resettled in Sydney hoping to land the record contract that had alluded them for more than a year. In the era of Fleetwood Mac, ELO, and the Eagles Cold Chisel's sound was not deemed commercial. However WEA Records took the chance and the first self-titled album was released in April 1978 without setting the world on fire. The first single, "Khe Sahn," about an Australian Vietnam veteran, was banned from airplay over part of the lyric. It has since become one of the most played classic rock tracks on Australian radio. The second album saw Cold Chisel into the Top Ten, less raw than the band on-stage, but concentrating on the songs. Filled with localized lyric references, Breakfast at Sweethearts earned the band its first platinum record. June 1980's East album took the band over the top, tougher than Breakfast at Sweethearts but still stacked with strong songs, this time with other bandmembers joining in the songwriting, and guitarist Ian Moss taking lead vocals on two songs with his strong soul voice. They followed East with the number one live album Swingshift while supporting the U.S. release of East with tours across the country. The next album was aimed at the world market, but its title said how out of place they felt. They called it Circus Animals. Tours of Europe and the U.K. followed.
Disillusionment set in when the band's music failed to find favor in America, adding to the internal tensions created by various members' songwriting ambitions and singer Jimmy Barnes' volatile personality. On innumerable occasions throughout the band's lifespan, he had quit the band and rejoined. But now, after ten years together, Cold Chisel decided to call it quits with a farewell tour ending at the Sydney Entertainment Centre in December 1983. Barnes immediately launched an incredibly successful solo career, accumulating seven Australian number one albums. Guitarist Ian Moss took five years off before releasing a number one album of his own, reuniting him with the songs of Don Walker. Walker started his own low-key recording and performing career, forging relationships with a varied assortment of Australian music makers, both rock and country. Drummer Steve Prestwich joined Little River Band for two years. Throughout the rest of the '80s and into the '90s, Cold Chisel albums kept selling and fans vainly hoped for a reunion. Then, after almost two years of secret discussions and jam sessions, a reunion album and tour were assembled in October 1998, but The Last Wave of Summer project proved to be a shadow of Cold Chisel's glorious past.
Ed Nimmervoll, Rovi
Jason Ankeny, Rovi