He played We Won’t Dance but not before regaling us with the story of how it came to be recorded by Vince Gill on his WHEN I CALL YOUR NAME album in 1989. Trooper, when first approached about the cover, thought ‘who the (expletive deleted) is Vince Gill? Okay let him cover it, I might be able to help his career’ Needless to say Trooper subsequently found out just who Vince Gill was!
Only two songs from the new album featured in the first set, these were They Call Me Hank (which one highly respected critic is suggesting is a contender for ‘Song of the Year’) and a ballad, Second Wind. One of the older songs performed was When I Think Of You My Friends which includes the lines:
‘Sleepers, weepers, faithless leapers
Up to ten, 12-inch speakers,
Send them in to Karl, they’ll need an overhaul’
He wasn’t going to get away without an encore from the highly appreciative audience so returning with a ‘you okay with country?’ he yodelled his way into Hank Williams’ Long Gone Lonesome Blues and then completed the show with one of his own songs because ‘people only remember the last song you play’ – Hannah’s Dreams.
This audience will remember much, much more than the last song. Without doubt Trooper is one of the most under appreciated singer/songwriters on the circuit. The two varied sets were testament to his versatility as both a writer and performer. He tackles alt-country, roots, Americana, folk, blues and soul all with equal aplomb. He deserves much greater success and as he left the stage with a message for the audience – ‘keep on dreamin’ everybody’ you only hope that his own dreams come true. They certainly deserve to.