Album of the Week: Live At The Rock Room


Greg Trooper - Live At The Rock Room (52 Shakes)

NY-based Greg Trooper is an extraordinary singer-songwriter. You probably don't know him and that's a damn shame. In 2003 he released Floating, one of the finest Americana albums ever. One of his most ambitious songs is on that album -- “Muhammad Ali (The Meaning of Christmas).” I've shared it with countless friends over the years. Folks like Steve Earle, Billy Bragg, Vince Gill, and Maura O'Connell have covered his songs. He lived in Nashville for a spell, but he's back with us. And he continues to dazzle, to too much anonymity. He has a real yeoman's approach to his craft; his stories occupy the same territory as another fellow New Jersey-born songwriter, The Boss. Yet you won't find him filling stadiums; more like clubs and small venues such as The Rock Room in Austin, where Greg's lastest effort, appropriately titled, Live At The Rock Room, was recorded live with Jack Saunders on upright bass and Chip Dolan on keyboards and accordion. This stripped-down lineup allow all fourteen of these well-crafted tunes to penetrate your soul.

His plaintive voice resonates within the walls of his heartfelt songs of the everyman such as the song above, "They Call Me Hank." One of his most beloved tunes, the story about a homeless man could be anyone who has ever fallen on bad times, yet continues to soldier on with all the dignity he can muster. Funny thing about songs like this, you could easily miss how difficult it is to write them. The simplicity of the melody and the impact of the simple language may not be the flavor the month, but that's why they endure. And that's why Greg endures. He soldiers on, song to song, show to show, sharing his remarkable talent with anyone who cares to take the time to listen.