A SONGWRITER who has had his material covered by everyone from Steve Earle to Billy Brag and Country star Vince Gill, and has just released his eleventh album in a career that’s more illustrious than most, is set to return to Hawick to keep fans happy, for a short run of dates in October.
Brooklyn-based Greg Trooper is one of the most popular performers on the circuit and always plays Scotland whenever he returns for ‘live’ work in Europe. He has been making great records since 1986.
This latest release Incident On Willow Street, was produced by Grammy-winning Stewart Lerman and brought together by a pedigree team including Larry Campbell (Dylan, Levon Helm), Kenneth Blevins (John Hiatt) and Lucy Wainwright Roche (vocals) among others.
On its release on this side of the Atlantic earlier this month, it rocketed straight to the Number 3 position on the hugely-influential Euro Americana Chart, compiled each month from returns submitted by hundreds of radio stations.
Steve Earle has for many years been happy to nail his colours to the mast and declare himself a fan, stating in a recent interview: “Greg writes great songs, including one of my very favourite compositions in the world, ‘Little Sister.’ On top of all that, there’s his voice – an instrument I have coveted for 15 years.”
Billy Bragg says that he considers the man to have a rightful place on “the list of our finest contemporary songwriters.”
Respected US critic Dave Marsh says: “Greg Trooper is a songwriter and performer who deserves about 12 times the attention he’s received. He knows how to play rock against country and folk and position the pressures of adulthood against the longing for adolescent freedom.”
On this side of the Atlantic, Whispering Bob Harris has featured many tracks on his BBC Radio 2 shows and described Greg as “One of the great, great American singer-songwriters,” while Maverick magazine stated simply: “This is a must-see gig.”
The latest UK tour kicks off at Leith Folk Club on October 1 and there are dates at Kilbarchan Steeple Hall on 2nd, the Acoustic Music Club in Kirkcaldy on 3rd and Heart of Hawick on 4th. After that, he has a string of English dates including The Barbican Theatre in Plymouth and The Green Note in London, before heading for Holland and Germany.
Greg says he longs to see the lush green hills of the Scottish Borders once again.
“Our apartment got drowned in the hurricane that hit Rockaway Beach so hard last year and we were forced to move and found a new property in the Red Hook area of Brooklyn,” he said, “and there’s not a lot of greenery there.
“The beautiful Scottish countryside always leaves a big impression…along with the friendliness of the welcome.
“I really enjoyed playing at Heart of Hawick last time I was over and when I got a chance to return, that was great news.
“One of your better-known Borders folks, Bob Fish, who has his own rockabilly band - Johnny & The Roccos - has offered to drive me around this time.
“He showed me Hermitage Castle last time. No hurricane will ever blow that place down!”