Much Beloved Singer, Songwriter, Friend
Born January 13, 1956
Died January 15, 2017
Greg Trooper, a prolific American singer/songwriter passed away at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City on the morning of January 15, 2017. He died in the arms of his wife of nearly 30 years, Claire Mullally, and their son, Jack Trooper.
Highly lauded in the Americana music scene, Greg Trooper was a productive and literate singer/songwriter, releasing thirteen albums, and performing in venues throughout the U.S. and Europe. He was known for his affecting and compelling songs and performances and for a resonant and emotional voice.
Trooper’s albums were produced by Buddy Miller; E Street Band bassist, Garry Tallent; Eric Ambel; Dan Penn; and Stewart Lerman. His songs were covered by Vince Gill, Billy Bragg, Maura O’Connell, Lucy Kaplansky, Tom Russell, Bill Lloyd, Robert Earl Keen, and Steve Earle. Many notable singers and musicians including Emmylou Harris, Rosanne Cash, The Roches and Larry Campbell appear on his recordings and his vast catalogue of songs have been published by various major music publishing companies.
A typical Greg Trooper performance included an audience composed of diehard fans who knew every word and neophytes often surprised by the talent they had stumbled upon in a local club. His storytelling abilities were as keen as his musical talents and the often humorous lead-ins to his songs were as memorable as the songs themselves. Trooper was always a professional, but was never above giving a shout out to an adoring fan or friend who had driven miles for a performance. He was gracious and generous to colleagues, supporting younger songwriters and inviting hopefuls to open for him.
Trooper was born in Neptune, New Jersey, on January 13, 1956, and was raised in Little Silver, New Jersey. He was the son of David S. Trooper, the Art Director for Reader’s Digest Books for many years and Rita Myer Trooper, owner and baker at Rita’s Pastries in Red Bank, New Jersey.
As a child and teen Trooper sang and began playing the guitar and harmonica. He simply adored music and songwriting and knew from a young age that he wanted to follow in the footsteps of his musical heroes. He moved to Austin in the ‘70s, soaking up that city’s budding Texas singer songwriter scene and then to Lawrence, Kansas, where he attended classes at the University of Kansas and started penning his own songs. Returning to New York in the early ‘80s, he worked the clubs and bars of NYC and the East Coast developing his craft and building fans. Soon he was performing throughout the U.S. and Europe, signed to music publishing deals and making records.
In 1990 he married Claire Mullally, a singer and lawyer from Brooklyn. He and Claire have one son, Jack. A publishing and recording contract brought them to Nashville in 1995, where they raised Jack while enjoying that city’s rich musical community until returning to NYC in 2008.
Greg was passionate about his family. His close bond with his son inspired those around him to be better parents themselves. His humor was infectious and disarming and he brought an immeasurable and soulful vitality to all who knew and loved him. A lover of life—music, movies, baseball—he was affectionately know as “Troop” by his friends.
In the months before his passing, Trooper was at work in the studio with producer and friend Stewart Lerman recording his fourteenth album which will be released in the coming months.
Greg Trooper is survived by his wife, Claire Mullally; son, Jack Trooper; sisters, Anne Trooper Holbrook (Bartholdi F. Holbrook), Rachel Trooper; brother David (Catherine Howard) sister-in-laws Mary Mullally (David Roche), Ellen Mullally, Rita Mullally (Dan Kirk); brother-in-laws John Mullally (Christine), Timothy Mullally; seventeen adoring nieces and nephews and countless friends.
Disability forced me to close the concert series, and several years passed before I had the chance to see Greg again, at the Austin Rock House show with Chip Dolan, which became his 13th and final album. Of course, I was glad to see him, and incredibly touched when he asked after my health, having heard about my accident from other Nashville artists. I was stunned to hear of his passing – Greg was one of those larger-than-life personalities, and the same age as me – but I am comforted, somewhat, by the Rock House album; a reminder of my last evening with a man I considered a consummate artist, a gifted creator, and a friend.