Brooklyn singer-songwriter Greg Trooper returns to the Borders next month with a gig at the Heart of Hawick.
The Super Trooper, whose material has been covered by Steve Earle, Billy Bragg and Country star Vince Gill, is touring Scotland for a short run of live performances to promote his 11th album, Incident on Willow Street.
As a teenager, he became enthralled by the greater New York area’s rich music scene, discovering a holy musical trinity in the work of Otis Redding, Bob Dylan, and Hank Williams, and their guiding lights of passion, literary dexterity and plainspoken honesty led his music to feel equally informed by Memphis soul, Greenwich Village folk and Nashville twang.
Trooper said he longed to see the lush green hills of the Scottish Borders once again, after Hurricane Sandy wrecked his home last year.
“Our apartment got drowned in the hurricane that hit Rockaway Beach so hard last year. We lost a lot of stuff, 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.
He went on: “The beautiful Scottish countryside always leaves a big impression … along with the friendliness of the welcome from the people we meet.
“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 again this time. I couldn’t be happier.
“He showed me Hermitage Castle last time. No hurricane will ever blow that thing down.”
The latest UK tour kicks off at Leith Folk Club on October 1 and there are dates at Kilbarchan Old Library, the Acoustic Music Club in Kirkcaldy, and Heart of Hawick auditorium on October 4. After that, Trooper has a string of English dates, including The Barbican Theatre in Plymouth and The Green Note in London, before heading for Holland and Germany.
Steve Earle nailed his colours to the mast and declared 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.”
Folk musician, punk rocker and protest singer Billy Bragg has also stepped up to praise Trooper, whom he considers to have a rightful place on “the list of our finest contemporary songwriters”.
US critic Dave Marsh added: “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 Trooper as one of the great, great American singer-songwriters, while Maverick magazine stated simply: “This is a must-see gig.” Rock ‘n’ Reel magazine added: “Trooper’s ear for a tune, way with a chorus, grooves, lyrical insight and just plain old humanity, shine through”.
Greg Trooper will play Heart of Hawick on Friday, October 4, with tickets costing £12 (£10). Contact Heart of Hawick Box Office on 01450 360688 to book or for more information.