It may well have been advice like this that allowed Greg Trooper to profit from a New York wedding where the groom's mother, Mary, joined in as a piper with the local police pipe band and a guest called Irish Brian got under Trooper's skin in some way, resulting in the tale of our hero's unrequited love - with Irish Brian thwarting him all the way - for Mary Of The Scots In Queens.
The way Trooper sings it, this is a deal less convoluted than it appears. The New Jersey-born singer-songwriter has a great way with a gritty narrative and his wholehearted delivery lends conviction and realism that bring out the strong sense of character in his writing. By the end of Mary Of The Scots In Queens you feel you have been through the emotional wringer with him as he details directly and mirthfully his lust, frustration and disappointment down what amounts to decades.
Trooper's writing has attracted plenty of attention from fellow performers, even if it's bypassed the greater music-consuming audience (or what we used to call record buyers). Steve Earle covered his impassioned Little Sister and Billy Bragg the in-time-of-war song Everywhere. But if he's resentful of still playing the small-scale venue circuit after all these years, he doesn't show it. He's extremely personable, spontaneously and consistently entertaining and clearly enjoys sharing his smartly-observed lyrics and songs that can both impart a story with gentle persuasion and rock with real vigour - not unlike another, rather more famous New Jersey troubadour.