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After years of cutting his teeth in folk clubs in New York's Greenwich Village and the Austin,Texas rich music scene, singer/songwriter Greg Trooper has planted solid roots in Nashville. The one constant in this previously itinerant man's career has been the admiration he has received from more established names: Rosanne Cash, Steve Earle, Vince Gill and Billy Bragg have each recorded Greg's songs. In a rootsy setting rocked up by unadorned organ, guitar, bass and drums accompaniment, Floating showcases Greg's material at its finest. Here is his ability to condense complex human emotions into powerful, simple songs; his knack for inventing unforgettably fetching melodies; his vocal style proving he stands shoulder-to-shoulder with today's best singer/songwriters.
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"Floating" is the best in a line of fine, but sadly unnoticed Trooper records. There isn't a bad cut on the disc. Not one. It's the kind of record that after one listen, you think, "That's pretty good." After three listens, you're convinced it's a country rock classic. Trooper figures a songwriter, not the listener, ought to do the heavy lifting. So his lyrics are carefully crafted whether they're about moving on in "The Road So Long," chuckling about a life in "Lucky That Way" ("I've had good luck in many bad situations," he sings) or the stunning "Muhammad Ali (The Meaning of Christmas)."
On "Muhammad Ali," Trooper breaks your heart in waltz time, portraying an Ali dealing with Parkinson's as true champion. "Now his hands are shaking. And his knees are weak," he sings. "But listen when this old warrior speaks. I am the greatest,' he said with a grin. But he was talking about you. Not about him. And he's teaching me the meaning of Christmas."
Trooper's considerable craft may begin with the lyrics, but it doesn't end there. His melodies are strong, easy to adopt. And he may be the best singer in Nashville. Just listen to the enchanting duet with O'Connell on "Innisheer." It's a voice that'll break your heart if you give it half a chance.
This is atop my list of the best albums of 2003...
Listening to the songs on Floating will engage you but not overwhelm you.
Greg Trooper is new to me. And, this is a new CD. The more I listen the more I wonder where Greg Trooper has been. Everything on this fine CD is about emotion. Every word Greg Trooper sings and every chord he plays conveys the emotion of a strongly disciplined singer, songwriter. His language is conversational. His music is relaxing and he reflects a self awareness of living in the real world. His sound seems to come from the folk tradition. There are songs about love and songs about loss. All the songs let you drift along the stream of life where you strike gold without even digging for the treasure.
There are 12 original tunes on this debut CD and each tells an emotional story. The most powerful for me is "Muhammad Ali" where Greg Troops brings out the teacher in us all. Every listen to this debut CD brings more enjoyment for me. I'm glad that after hearing Greg Trooper I went straight out and bought FLOATING! I hope you do the same. Let yourself go floating!
FLYING HORSE CO.
Hat Creek, AB
Two of these tracks are my very favorite. "From Only You" is a good-time toe-tapper with Phil Madeira's accordion giving a down home feel as Greg's sings, "I got an ice-cold drink on a hot summer day; you got an ice-cold heart to treat me this way; I need love from you baby." My other very favorite is the closer "The Lasting Kind" with Jake Armerding's gorgeous fiddle that communicates an aching quality to Greg's lovely vocal, "All we have is now, so can't we let it be; Forget the why & how, trust the mystery." Both of these are great love songs, the first happy and the second reflective in tone.
The rest of the songs on the disc are also excellent. The track "Muhammad Ali (The Meaning of Christmas)" is probably getting the most press since Steve Earle sings it. It's a sweet ballad with Ali's famous "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee" imagery included in the lyric. Particularly lovely is Greg's duet with Maura O'Connell on "Inisheer," "Give to me your burden & your fear, Let us wander through this world together & we will find our way to Inisheer." For me, Greg's most affecting performance as a vocalist is on the slow soulful groove of "Apology." The other tracks are also great from "When My Tears Break Through" penned with Buddy Mondlock who did such a great job with Art Garfunkel & Maia Sharp on the "Everything Waits to Be Noticed" CD to the title track and the lovely melody of "Rose, With You." "Floating" is a mostly mellow acoustic set with strong vocals, sterling instrumentation and marvelous songs. Enjoy!
"The Lasting Kind" is OUTSTANDING!!
Thank the stars for Greg, Chris Knight, Buddy Miller, Tift Merritt, Alsion Moorer and Robert Earl Keen.....My cd player would be empty without them.
PLEASE Lord.....Let someone like Greg Trooper get played on country radio....Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney and Toby Keith need an island....and we need a vacation from them!!!
Worth every Penny!!
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