Straight Down Rain
Greg Trooper may not be a household name, unless you live with Robert Earl Keen, Steve Earle, or maybe Emmylou Harris. All these artists have covered Trooper songs in the past, and there are a few new songs here that are certain to be covered by someone on down the line. I do know that Trooper has been around awhile, and I do know that he has a small but loyal following. Beyond this, he was a total mystery to me before I heard this recording. After a dozen listens, I feel like I know him, at least a little bit. I can say that if this recording is representative of his overall body of work, then his story is more evidence of some great inequities in Nashville — as if that’s anything new.
Trooper is not just another songwriter/performer. He has the gift, and thank God he’s stuck around the music business and continued to share it with us all. His work rings with an honesty and openness that is pretty rare in Nashville. Trooper’s not afraid to bare his soul and share his thoughts and observations on a complicated and somewhat confusing — yet hopeful — life.
Trooper is an artist in the truest sense. This recording is highly enjoyable and even downright infectious. One thing it’s probably not is country music — except for maybe the two-stepping song “Real Like That,” which gives us the line that is the album’s title. He’s aided by Julie Miller’s vocals on this one. The other songs recall a number of different artists, ranging from Dylan to Springsteen, and to even possibly The Beatles at times. Trooper steals from the best. The themes touch on a wide range of human conditions, ranging from miserable people on “You Love Your Broken Heart” to the bipolar anthem “Trampoline.” It takes a number of listens to take all this in. This last fact alone is a mark of a good piece of work, in my opinion.