Country rock artist Evan Troop is on his way to establishing himself differently from the pack of ‘bro country’ superstars. In fact the country-peppered guitars in his The Next Chapter, a rowdy five-song collection, offer much more to the roots rock crowd than the modern country fanfare. Regardless of how you describe what genre it most fits, The Next Chapter is one of 2020s best works. Troop is a formidable force.
Like Sturgill Simpson, Troop served in the United States Navy. What makes this important to share with listeners is that while listening to some tracks, the longing “Gone” and the slamming guitars in “Slippin’ Away”, one can feel the presence of time spent away from family, isolating moments. Troop relies heavily on guitars in these tracks, and the clanging, the flow they present might be like crashing waves. It’s remarkable and makes for much more interesting fodder that what we’re hearing in the mainstream country stations.
One of the standouts, “My Time Now” has the fullest of sounds. I felt like this song might be his signature song of the pack. You can’t bring me down / past and future / it’s my time now, Troop sings. He’s not overzealous or cocky – he’s just saying his peace. The guitars are arresting – show stoppers. Curiously, in the fourth track, “Enemy”, Troop, still singing like the rock star he is, presents a different tone. This one is more vulnerable. How did I become so deranged, he asks. His voice is still powerful, and “Enemy” takes the listener down his path of self-doubt. The guitar work, still very much amber, melodic rock, takes the listener on another unique journey. Even in this ballad-like coda, the listener is still amplified and charged. This song is very relatable with its realistic lines and an artist that is open about his faults and shortcomings. We need songs like this – especially when males can own up to or display their hearts on their sleeves. I don’t think he comes across overly sensitive as much as he comes across as genuine. Troop is as authentic as they come. What else would you expect from Dallas? From Texas?
I can easily hear all these songs – including the last track “Your Man” up on a stage. They all have an element of live energy, of a cramped club with fans clamoring to raise their drinks high above their heads. Troop kidnaps that energy and brings it into the recording studio. The Dallas, Texas-based Troop, is poised to lead these songs on any size of stage.
I think The Next Chapter is only the beginning for an artist like Troop. He has laid the bricks for a strong foundation, and an evergreen career. No matter how you want to describe his sound – rock, pop rock, country rock or Americana, Troop conveys a fresh sonic sound that engulfs the listener and sends them into his far-reaching world. Troop has me excited for what lies ahead, and how the industry is changing.
by Bethany Page