Singer and songwriter Greg Trooper passed away peacefully on Sunday, Jan. 15, two days after his 61st birthday. He had been fighting pancreatic cancer for nearly two years.
A talented and beloved artist, Trooper gained notoriety both as a writer and performer. He called many music cities home throughout his life, including Austin, Nashville and New York City.
Greg Trooper’s songs landed on several records besides his own throughout his career. Vince Gill recorded tracks such as “We Won’t Dance,” while others such as Steve Earle (who recorded “Little Sister”) and Robert Earl Keen also released Trooper’s tunes.
A native of New Jersey, Trooper traveled frequently to Greenwich Village in his teens in the 1970s. That famous scene ultimately helped craft his own brand country, folk and rock.
He spent some time in Austin during the 70s as well, before eventually moving to Kansas to attend the University of Kansas and hone his songwriting.
Trooper first broke into the country and folk scene with 1986’s We Won’t Dance, which he recorded in New York City. He eventually moved to Nashville in the mid-1990s and released a string of critically acclaimed albums. Those include 1998’s Buddy Miller-produced Popular Demons.
Greg Trooper ultimately became known for his clever and visual writing style. In 2003, Trooper joined the esteemed roster of Sugar Hill Records for a brief sting. He continued touring and releasing records. During this time, Trooper also began recording live albums.
He also counted many famed musicians among his friends, including Rosanne Cash and Emmylou Harris. Both women contributed backing vocals to his records throughout the years.
Trooper returned to New York City in 2008.
He released Live at the Rock Bottom, a live album recorded in Austin, in 2015. The record was Trooper’s final album as sadly, doctors diagnosed Trooper with pancreatic cancer in the summer of 2015.
Trooper briefly retired from the road but eventually returned, playing shows until his final days.