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Singer, songwriter and Little Silver native Greg Trooper opens for Clint Black at The Y’s Goin’ Country for Kids benefit concert Saturday night at the Count Basie.


While he doesn’t usually make the short list of well-known musicians who’ve called the Jersey Shore their home, Little Silver native Greg Trooper has an uncanny knack for being on the scene wherever music happens — or is just about to happen.

The 56-year-old singer and songwriter was present and accounted for when the NYC folk clubs summoned forth a bold new crop of performers in the 1970s and ’80s. He was at large in Austin when that Texas town was tearing up the country music rulebook — and in Nashville when a next-generation Music City began to attract veteran Shorecats like John Eddie and Garry Tallent.

On Saturday, Trooper returns to Red Bank — the setting of many an after-school hangout back in the day — for a major benefit concert presented under the name Goin’ Country for Kids. A fundraiser for the Strong Kids Program at THE Community YMCA, the 8 pm show at the Count Basie Theatre finds Trooper appearing in support of country superstar Clint Black — himself a momentary son of the greater Red Bank green (and if you don’t believe us, check the NJ Wall of Fame at Murphy’s on Broad Street).

The solo acoustic set is expected to draw from his 25-year catalog of recorded work — a discography that includes 2011’s Upside Down Town, in which the darker vocal tones of the mature Trooper make a gritty but satisfying fit with a lyrical style that was always world-weary and wise beyond the composer’s years. The acclaimed songwriter’s songwriter would see his vivid vignettes interpreted by performers from Steve Earle (“Little Sister”) and Vince Gill (“We Won’t Dance”) to Lucy Kaplansky (“The Heart”) and Billy Bragg (“Everywhere”).

Working with such sought-after producers as Buddy Miller, Dan Penn and Tallent, Trooper has employed sensibly spare arrangements (spotlighting fiddles, pedal steel, accordion and some quietly intense guitar) in a way that presaged what we now call Americana — even as it avoided the potential embarrassments of Opryland fad and fashion.

redbankgreen has some Q’s and A’s with Trooper below. If you missed the Clint Black interview earlier this week, thumb it over to here.

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Clint Black’s portrait at Murphy Style Grill Wall. Black returns to the area where he lived as an infant when he headlines the Count Basie Saturday.


Pay a visit to Red Bank’s Murphy Style Grill and you’ll encounter muralist Andrew Sabori’s Wall of Fame panorama featuring famous people from New Jersey. Take a closer look and you’ll probably wonder why — nestled in with familiar homegrown heroes like Jack Nicholson, The Chairman and The Boss — you’ll find the black-hatted country music superstar Clint Black.

Although he forged his traditionalist sound in the honkytonks of his Houston hometurf — and despite venturing forth into much of the world from his present Nashville base of operations — Black can claim a pedigree on the greater Red Bank green, where he was born 50 years ago and, according to some sources, where his family briefly resided prior to young Clint’s first birthday.

On Saturday, July 28, the platinum-plated singer, songwriter, producer and occasional actor makes a Red Bank homecoming of sorts, when he headlines The Y’s Goin’ Country for Kids — a benefit for The Community YMCA and a show that finds the Count Basie Theatre  also playing host to another local boy gone country: Little Silver native Greg Trooper.

It’s a road stop that holds special significance for Black, whose 25-year recorded catalog has garnered him more than a dozen number one hits, a trophy case of awards and his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Having met all the Nashville milestones (and dueted with everyone from Waylon Jennings to Monty Python’s Eric Idle), the AMA Favorite New Artist of 1990 entered the new millennium with some of the most intriguing music of his career. He’s also co-starred in a series of family-friendly Flicka flicks, guested in movies and countless TV shows, composed original music for the upcoming stage extravaganza Aussie Adventure, and continues to serve as honorary chair for the nonprofit research and awareness organization International Rett Syndrome Foundation (IRSF).

Scroll on down for our interview with the Man Named Black, and tune in Friday for our interview with show-opener Greg Trooper of Little Silver.

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