Greg Trooper

Upside-Down Town – 2011 (52 Shakes)

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

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CDs by Greg Trooper

Singer-songwriter Greg Trooper's latest is a mix of folksy soul with a touch of country. The soul influence is in evidence right out of the gate with the opening Nobody In The Whole Wide World as well as Dreams Like This and Bulletproof Heart on which Trooper's vocals are reminiscent of the bluesy soul of John Hiatt.

The twangy Might Be A Train references Jimmie Rodgers and has a bit of a Johnny Cash shuffle feel, while We've Still Got Time, Second Wind and Could Have Been You are effective country ballads.

Among the stronger tracks is They Call Me Hank, a folk ballad that tells the tale of a homeless drifter ("They call me Hank/ I live by the river/ I fish for whatever I can sell") who has worn out his welcome at all but one bar in town. Another standout is Just One Hand, in which the singer reflects on a relationship gone bad ("Sometimes you'd shove me out/ I could scream and shout/ You'd not hear me").

Despite references to lost love and kids being raised by another man, the album closes on something of a positive note with Everything Will Be Just Fine ("Trying to find a song/ Trying to find a perfect rhyme/ One that could turn the world upside down/ But I'd settle for smile from one lonely frown").

With strong tunes, solid performances and stellar musicianship throughout from Kevin McKendree (keyboards, guitar), Kenneth Blevins (drums) and David Jacques (bass) this is a thoroughly satisfying collection.