Greg Trooper 'Live at the Rock Room' - 52 Shakes

This is a man who lives up to his name. Trooper has been plying his trade long before his first release in 1992. This is his third live set and will be familiar to anyone who has caught his live show in recent times. He is joined her by Chip Dolan on keyboards and accordion and Jack Saunders on upright bass; both add backing vocals and give the recording some added presence. As with all his albums and shows Trooper’s essential warmth and humour come across through his music. He has honed his writing and vocal skills through the years and both are something to be reckoned with.

There are 14 songs taken from various parts of his career, but with a majority from his last studio album Incident on Willow Street. There are touches of the darker moments in life like Broken Man or The Land of No Forgiveness and a poignancy that evokes empathy without wasting energy. Even when he takes on these subjects, he does so in a way that offers some insight into why a person is in that place. While songwriters aim for that level of perception, few can achieve it consistently throughout a body of work as Trooper has.

As a lyricist Trooper has worked towards a standard of writing that is economic in its story telling. He gets a story across in a set of words that are without any waste and are backed by  strong melodic arrangements. In other words Trooper is a keeper and this collection reminds you why. Intimate and incisive, this set from the Rock Room will make you feel as appreciative as the audience did on the night.