Classic Clips: Greg Trooper “Green Eyed Girl” Live at McCabe’s – 21st October 2012

Credit: Erik Joling

Not all talented artists get the real breakthrough their music deserves, and Greg Trooper, unfortunately, falls into that category despite his undoubted songwriting and performing skills which made fans of such artists as Steve Earle, Billy Bragg, and Vince Gill. Over the thirteen albums he recorded from 1986 until his early death from pancreatic cancer at 61 in 2017, he brought a rock sensibility to his folk and country influences. This may have had something to do with the fact he was a New Jersey native who played the clubs of Greenwich Village before moving to Austin and then the University of Kansas before returning to New York to start his recording career. He lived in Nashville for a time, securing a deal with Sugar Hill Records, before returning to New York. He worked with many musicians over the years including Dylan and Levon Helm guitarist Larry Campbell, fellow New Jersey native and ex-E Street Band member Gary Tallent, Buddy Miller, and the great Dan Penn. He even got Emmylou Harris and Rosanne Cash to sing backing vocals while he was in Nashville.

‘Green Eyed Girl’ is a track from his 2005 album, ‘Make It Through This World’ which was produced by Dan Penn and released by Sugar Hill Records which also featured Bill Kirchen on guitar. While ‘Make It Through This World’ is a great album that fits seamlessly into Greg Trooper’s catalogue, it is not an exceptional Greg Trooper album and as such it didn’t represent a career breakthrough. As well as his sound and his songs, Greg Tropper was blessed with a great voice that makes the fact he never achieved a major career breakthrough even more puzzling. As Greg Trooper himself says, he wrote about a green-eyed girl “because, as you all know, ‘Brown-eyed Girl’ is taken”.

McCabe’s Guitar Shop may just be a single room at the back of the shop but it is one of the most iconic folk and roots music venues in Los Angeles and the whole of the USA. It is impossible to say who has played there and it would be easier to list those roots artists who haven’t played there. As you can see from the video, the solo Greg Trooper fits right in with the likes of the Dillards, Townes Van Zandt, Jackson Browne, J J Cale, Martin Carthy, Laura Nyro, Gene Clark and the countless other artists who performed on the same stage. Enjoy the glimpse of a truly great artist who never got the public recognition he fully deserved.

About Martin Johnson 389 Articles
I've been a music obsessive for more years than I care to admit to. Part of my enjoyment from music comes from discovering new sounds and artists while continuing to explore the roots of American 20th century music that has impacted the whole of world culture.
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Alan Peatfield

Oh so sadly missed.