For every Steve Earle or John Prine there are a dozen of other singer songwriters who don’t shift as many units or garner as much press acclaim. You could call them second division but essentially that’s unfair. Time after time I’ve been pleasantly surprised and on occasion gobsmacked by an album that is simply terrific but which struggles to get out of the starting gate. There’s a vast hinterland out there, jobbing musicians, troupers indeed who might not have the killer touch or the luck to be plucked out and cast into the spotlight. Instead they carry on, delivering quality songs to a small but discerning audience who benefit from a unique relationship with the artist, mingling after a gig, communicating via the big old interweb and most recently helping to finance the recording and delivery of an artist’s album.
If a police artist was asked to produce a photofit of someone fitting the above description then it could very well look like Greg Trooper. With several albums under his belt since the mid eighties he’s had his songs recorded by Steve Earle and Vince Gill and been produced by Buddy Miller and Dan Penn. Setting up his own label, 52 Shakes, he’s used kickstarter to finance this album with donations from his fanbase. Well, his fanbase kicked in and here’s the result, released in time to prime UK fans for a tour in April and May.
While the album doesn’t blaze any trails Trooper is a confident and assured writer and he’s gathered a band that deliver a sweet, slightly southern soaked slice of Americana with a Muscle Shoals organ and guitar sound on many of the songs. This results in the driving Time For Love and the J.J. Cale groove of Nobody In The whole Wide World, both guaranteed to have the hips swinging. Elsewhere Trooper’s singer/songwriting roots are well displayed on a brace of songs that deliver the goods in the tradition of Guy Clark and Butch Hancock. First True Love is a delicate love song while Everything Will Be Just Fine could be used as a template for a perfect Americana troubadour song.
The good news is that Trooper is touring the UK from late April with some Scottish dates including Laurie’s in Glasgow on 30th April. Check the others on his website.
Everything Will be Just Fine