Jump to Content

Welcome! You’re browsing the No Depression Archives

No Depression has been the foremost journalistic authority on roots music for well over a decade, publishing 75 issues from 1995 to 2008. No Depression ceased publishing magazines in 2008 and took to the web. We have made the contents of those issues accessible online via this extensive archive and also feature a robust community website with blogs, photos, videos, music, news, discussion and more.

Close This

The Long Way Around - Feature from Issue #33 May-June 2001

Greg Trooper

a New Jersey yankee in King Acuff's courtSongwriter Greg Trooper finds a way to make Nashville work in his favor

Shortly after moving to Nashville, Trooper hooked up with fellow Jersey boy Garry Tallent, who produced his moving Noises In The Hallway album for D’Ville Records in 1996. Popular Demons, with Buddy Miller at the helm and guest appearances by Steve Earle and Emmylou Harris, followed on Koch in 1998. Despite minimal radio play, Trooper’s music earned accolades from the press and his peers. Over the years, his songs have been covered by Rosanne Cash, Maura O’Connell, Lucy Kaplansky, Billy Bragg, Tom Russell and Bill Lloyd.

For Straight Down Rain, Trooper hooked up with Eminent Records exec Steve Wilkison, formerly of the Texas label DejaDisc. “He had DejaDisc going when I was making Everywhere in New York; he wanted me to do a record with him then, but we were holding out for that ‘New York record deal,’ you know?” Trooper says with a laugh. “And then, when I got my deal with Koch, John Porter was the guy who signed me there, and John hired Steve, and Steve became sort of ‘my guy’ at Koch.

“Finally, when he came down here to run Eminent, and I was off of Koch, he said, ‘You’re free; let’s try to do a record.’ He’s by far the most comfortable and simpatico cat I’ve ever worked with on this level. He’s great, plus he loves music. And isn’t that a funny thing to make you stand apart from the crowd in the music business? It’s like I was saying about understanding how the music industry doesn’t work: Another reason it doesn’t work is that a lot of the guys running it don’t even have a record collection.”

Buddy Miller was initially slotted to produce Straight Down Rain, but scheduling conflicts kept pushing the project back. When similar conflicts arose with Gurf Morlix, Miller urged Trooper to consider Phil Madeira, an ace session musician with little front-line production experience. Eminent was initially reluctant, but some Madeira-produced demos of Greg’s material swept away all doubts.

“I’m really, really happy with it,” Trooper says of the album. “We went to places, musically, that I would never have gone to with other producers. ‘Doghouse’ and the things we did on ‘Staring Down The Night’ are so much different than anything I’ve done. There’s also stuff that’s familiar — you know, ‘loud folksinger Greg Trooper’ — but overall it rocks more than the last record. And I loved my last record, too, but I already made that one.”

Straight Down Rain does indeed rock more energetically than Popular Demons, which was a pretty darn cool record in its own right. But beyond that, as routinely sharp as Trooper’s previous output has been, there is a deep, abiding groove present wherein songs, lyrics, musicians and singers shift and move together with an elusive, copacetic ease that is the hallmark of a recording on which everything has fallen into place.

An avid, yet oddly bashful, body surfer, Jim Musser keeps his walrus-like body sleek and shiny with a diet of twice-cooked, Belgian-style fries in Iowa City, Iowa, as he awaits the arrival of the Perfect Wave. Meantime, he bleeds Cincinnati red and lives the blues.

Enjoy the ND archives? Consider making a donation with PayPal or send a check to:
No Depression, 460 Bush St., San Francisco, CA 94108


Did you enjoy this article? Start a discussion about it, or find out what others are saying in the No Depression Community forum.

Join the Discussion »

Find out what's going on in roots music. Share concert photos and videos, learn about new artists, blog about the music you love.

Join the No Depression Community »

Originally Featured in Issue #33 May-June 2001

Buy our history before it’s gone!

Each issue is artfully designed and packed full of great photos that you don‘t get online. Visit the No Depression store to own a piece of history.

Visit the No Depression Store »

From the Blogs

  • SummerTyne Americana Festival #9 - Jumping Hot Club Stage (Gateshead, U.K. - July 18-20, 2014)
    Wow, it’s taken nearly two weeks for me to get my breath back after another frantic and wonderful SummerTyne Americana Festival. As I say every year, the crowds turn up not knowing anyone on the Jumping Hot Club Outside stage and go away with their favourite new artist of the year. Starting at noon on Friday, the outside stage hosted seven local acts, all wi […]
  • What Happens When a Band on the Rise Finds Out Its Name Is an Obscure Racial Stereotype? Meet Parsonsfield (Formerly Poor Old Shine).
    For Poor Old Shine, it started with a song… a traditional prison work song of the American South, called “Ain’t No Cane on This Brazos.” It’s been interpreted by everyone from Dylan and the Band, to the Low Anthem, Lyle Lovett and the Wood Brothers. And it was the song in one of the great scenes in the movie “Festival Express,” as a completely blotto Rick Da […]
  • Getting to Know Wendy Cahill -- Falcon Ridge Emerging Artist
    Wendy Cahill has a voice.  She’s got a voice that is captivating and beguiling.  She’s got soul.  And like I said above, man-oh-man, she has got a Voice.  It’s raw and powerful and is definitely meant to be heard! Wendy Cahill is one of 24 Emerging Artists chosen for this year’s Falcon Ridge Folk Festival.  The Emerging Artist showcase is always one of the h […]
  • The Post-Newport Earthquake: Watkins Family Hour
    Did you feel it? That's what everybody in Los Angeles asks each other whenever a shake or quake rattles and rolls through the valleys and flatlands. Sometimes there's just a release of pressure beneath the crust, and other times it's an up and down jolt that lasts only a second. And then you forget about it. Until the next time.  Sunday night […]
  • Johnny Winter - True to the Blues: The Johnny Winter Story (Album Review)
    “This music proves that a white man with white hair can really play the blues,” Pete Townsend says in the booklet that accompanies True To the Blues: The Johnny Winter Story, the four-CD box set retrospective of Winter's career just out on Columbia /Legacy. But age had nothing to do with Winter's look or sound. Due to his albinism, Winter's ha […]
  • Americana Music Show Episode #200 Tribute to the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill music scene
    On episode 200 of the Americana Music Show, I pay tribute to local bands and songwriters in the Carrboro, Chapel Hill, Durham, Raleigh NC area.  This week features over 30 local artists from the area including John Howie Jr. and the Rosewood Bluff, Lyn Blakey, Jefferson Hart and Ghosts of Old North State, Mandolin Orange, Jon Shain, Radar's Clowns Of Se […]

Shop Amazon by clicking through this logo to support NoDepression.com. We get a percentage of every purchase you make!

Subscribe To the No Depression Newsletter

Subscribe to the No Depression Newsletter