Greg Trooper, one our best singer/songwriter’s passed away January 15, 2017 at 61. Armed with his trademark Martin guitar and pork-pie hat, he left behind an impressive catalogue of songs and legions of fans in Europe and here in the states. Several artists, Vince Gill and Steve Earle among them recorded his songs. In one of his last performances, he opened for John Prine and joined him onstage for Prine’s “Paradise.”
He died on this date three years and is greatly missed. I first heard Greg Trooper in 2003. Sugar Hill released his Floating record to rave reviews. I am one of the many fortunate fans who got to know “Troop,” through a mutual friend who booked him for a few gigs. He was fond of talking music, enjoying a glass of wine, and sharing all his great songs. He was also willing to discuss his inspiration and his admiration of other artists.
A native of New Jersey, “Troop” formed The Greg Trooper Band in New Your in the 90s, which featured Larry Campbell (Bob Dylan). He eventually moved to Nashville where he continued to release critically acclaimed records. These included Noises in the Hallway, produced by E Street Band bassist, Garry Tallent, and Popular Demons, produced by Buddy Miller. After moving from label to label, he released two more stellar recordings for the Sugar Hill label. He moved back to New York in 2009 and continued to tour, write and release records. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and tragically passed away in 2017.
Like any road warrior, he had plenty of stories.I once asked him about his popularity in The Netherlands. I had noticed he toured there at least once a year. He told a story about being invited to headline a festival. He brought a band and played the prime slot on the Saturday night of the festival. “It was one of those dream gigs. We just nailed it! And ever since I’ve had a steady audience there.”
Even a casual music fan would recognize that “Troop” deserved a much wider audience. Greg Trooper’s music is still readily available on all streaming platforms. Give him a listen. RIP Troop.