Trapper Schoepp & The Shades
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Trapper Schoepp & The Shades

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2007 | INDIE

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2007
Band Americana Rock

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I teach high school, and I discourage my senior students from taking a year off before college unless absolutely necessary. The Trapper Schoepp Band started when the members were high school students, and although they are college-age now, I hope I’m not too irresponsible in suggesting that they might want to take a year to pursue their music. It’s that good.

The songs on A Change in The Weather are built upon a folk/acoustic template and then enriched with layers of violin, keys, percussion, and electric guitar. The songs are constructed with confidence – the band employs tension and release and within-song twists and turns with skill that belies their age.

The opening title track is set up by acoustic strumming that builds into lush power pop and a big chorus. The lilting “Running Away From the Day” is memorable for its juxtaposition of old-school folk harmonica and echoey, synth-like keyboard.

“Programmed” is infectious – Trapper’s Bowie-esque vocal, an upbeat-yet-defiant message, and a couple of cool tempo shifts before it dissolves into an ethereal instrumental section. “The Bridge” is another great number in this vein – it’s more straight-ahead rock and roll, but it has a reggae/ska/punk finish.

One might think the lyrics of a 19-year-old might be, well, juvenile, but Trapper pens some pretty good lines. The folky “It’s Six O’Clock, It’s Saturday” has some evocative images, and David Boigenzahn adds mournful guitar.

The band is indeed more than just Trapper (whose brother Tanner contributes drums, bass, and vocals), as demonstrated by the funky psychedelic blues of the instrumental “Jennings Original.”

“As Long As You’re Feeling Alright” is country bluesish – it sounds like a much more well-worn group, but still very authentic. And then the magnificent closer, “Falling Back,” grows from introspection into something anthemic and orchestral, largely due to Boigenzahn’s wall of guitar sound. And it's another good lyrical effort - this time effective minimalism.

These guys have a lot to look forward to, and I’ll admit – they make me feel old. The only current band I can compare the Trapper Schoepp Band to – sort of – is Arcade Fire. From my era (and even before) I hear U2 from the Unforgettable Fire and Joshua Tree years, and Bowie’s acoustic-based Ziggy Stardust tracks. And those are high, high compliments. - Muse's Muse


I teach high school, and I discourage my senior students from taking a year off before college unless absolutely necessary. The Trapper Schoepp Band started when the members were high school students, and although they are college-age now, I hope I’m not too irresponsible in suggesting that they might want to take a year to pursue their music. It’s that good.

The songs on A Change in The Weather are built upon a folk/acoustic template and then enriched with layers of violin, keys, percussion, and electric guitar. The songs are constructed with confidence – the band employs tension and release and within-song twists and turns with skill that belies their age.

The opening title track is set up by acoustic strumming that builds into lush power pop and a big chorus. The lilting “Running Away From the Day” is memorable for its juxtaposition of old-school folk harmonica and echoey, synth-like keyboard.

“Programmed” is infectious – Trapper’s Bowie-esque vocal, an upbeat-yet-defiant message, and a couple of cool tempo shifts before it dissolves into an ethereal instrumental section. “The Bridge” is another great number in this vein – it’s more straight-ahead rock and roll, but it has a reggae/ska/punk finish.

One might think the lyrics of a 19-year-old might be, well, juvenile, but Trapper pens some pretty good lines. The folky “It’s Six O’Clock, It’s Saturday” has some evocative images, and David Boigenzahn adds mournful guitar.

The band is indeed more than just Trapper (whose brother Tanner contributes drums, bass, and vocals), as demonstrated by the funky psychedelic blues of the instrumental “Jennings Original.”

“As Long As You’re Feeling Alright” is country bluesish – it sounds like a much more well-worn group, but still very authentic. And then the magnificent closer, “Falling Back,” grows from introspection into something anthemic and orchestral, largely due to Boigenzahn’s wall of guitar sound. And it's another good lyrical effort - this time effective minimalism.

These guys have a lot to look forward to, and I’ll admit – they make me feel old. The only current band I can compare the Trapper Schoepp Band to – sort of – is Arcade Fire. From my era (and even before) I hear U2 from the Unforgettable Fire and Joshua Tree years, and Bowie’s acoustic-based Ziggy Stardust tracks. And those are high, high compliments. - Muse's Muse


It’s been two years since Milwaukeeans Trapper Schoepp and the Shades released their last album, Lived and Moved. Since then, they’ve developed their musical stylings and toned it down a notch or two, all the while staying true to home.

Questionably taking a page from current drummer Jon Phillip’s former and now disbanded group, Limbeck, Engine has a country twang overtone upon its 12 tracks – full of the sweet-sounding licks that might be heard on a humble country song. The road trip worthiness is wrung all over the album inside and out, from its title and lyrics to the old-timey dashboard adorning the back cover.

From its opening track, “So Long,” onward, lead vocalist Trapper Schoepp (whose brother, Tanner, also plays bass and does vocals in the band) displays an impressive vocal range. Partnered with his well-achieved modest lyricism, Schoepp and company set the tone for the rest of the album while neither reaching too high nor falling too low. The non-imposing feel that’s heard throughout is easy to get into, whether or not you’re a fan of pop rock, country or the combination of the two.

Guitars shed a sense of a slow-moving hometown – the same which country music likely prevails. Hailing from a small northwestern town in Wisconsin himself, Schoepp likely had no shortage of the small town dynamic – a bluesy feel that is largely absent from the state’s largest city. If it’s not for the scrupulous amounts of slight John Mellencamp, Bryan Adams and a dash of Wilco sentiments, Engine would have to rely completely on its well written lyrics to carry it to its folk rock roots home.

Arguably, Schoepp’s lyricism is strongest when speaking about home, wherever that might be. “Cold Deck” (“The country station on the city bus/I jumped barbwire to climb Barn Bluff”) and “Tracks” (“When the salt starts to lose its taste/You better find yourself another place”) both have a great deal to do with the small town Midwest experience. “I-94,” on the other hand, is more deliberate in its approach to describing the experience on the local interstate: “West on 94/Gonna’ take me to my door” where “the basement bars and steeples/are turning grey.” While Schoepp isn’t necessarily describing a single place, he’s more so describing the feel that so many Midwesterners know all too well.

From beginning to end, however, on the first listen through, Engine may seemingly lack a bit of musical diversity. With each song, the music tends to blend into the next, but rest assured, there’s enough differentiated guitar solos, and even a well-placed violin, to add variety. Perhaps most importantly, the album’s sheer catchiness trumps all and, after a full listen or two, listeners will likely be singing along with Schoepp.

Overall, Trapper Schoepp and the Shades’ latest album, Run, Engine, Run, isn’t as much of a departure from Lived’s interesting combination of folk and pop rock as it is a movement towards an easy-listening road album, with a lyrical attitude that’s neither brash or over the heads of listeners. The feel is both uncannily similar to the country music that might be heard in small town bars and the old-timey rock sensibility that might be on the same jukebox. - The UWM Post


“Milwaukee is a great city, with all these great clubs,” says Trapper Schoepp, “but unfortunately it’s really hard to play out a lot when the frontman of your band can’t even buy a drink at a bar.”

It’s a sentiment shared by many underage musicians in the city, but Schoepp seems to feel it particularly deeply. As you’d expect from a songwriter whose latest album, Lived and Moved, exudes an eagerness to meet life’s challenges as quickly as possible, Shoepp is itching to give his band Trapper Schoepp & The Shades a full push.

“I feel like it’s definitely hard getting some people to take us seriously at first,” the 19-year-old UWM sophomore says. “We just got back from a tour of six or seven shows around Wisconsin, and the majority of the people at those shows were older, and the bands we played with were older. Usually once we get to the venue and start playing, people are like, ‘OK, you guys aren’t so bad,’ or ‘That young kid can write a song,’ but I just don’t see why age really matters that much.”

Lived and Moved certainly doesn’t sound like the work of a 19-year-old. With a clean, professional sound captured by one of Milwaukee’s go-to producers, Justin Perkins—who Schoepp sought out, having heard his recordings for acts like Cory Chisel, Blueheels and Limbeck—the album recalls the rambling Americana of Bob Dylan’s Basement Tapes sessions with The Band, tempered by some of the jaunty chime of I.R.S.-era R.E.M.

Schoepp is a distinguished songwriter, with a knack for bold sentiments and an ear for clean melodies, and he’s self-aware enough to understand the irony of a 19-year-old titling his second album Lived and Moved. The title refers, quite literally, to capture Schoepp’s move to Milwaukee from rural Ellsworth, Wis.—proud home to the annual Cheese Curd Festival few people outside of Ellsworth have heard of, and little else.

“I really wanted to get out of that small town, but I think that everyone who goes through that transitional phase feels a little lost,” he says. “You have all this ambition, but you’re really clueless and you don’t know what to do with it. There’s this uncertainty. So for me, recording this record was definitely a way to deal with those adolescent blues that I think everyone experiences around this age.”

For all its songs about youth, though, Schoepp sometimes seems to have the soul of an old man. His favorite Dylan album, for instance, is Dylan’s 1997 withered comeback effort Time Out of Mind.

“Much as I love Dylan’s socially charged, early work, it’s his love songs that really get me,” Schoepp says. “I love the way he opened up over his career. You look at his earlier work and it’s all about the outside world. It took him until 1975’s Blood on the Tracks to really open up about his own life, and by Time Out of Mind he was so much more candid.”

By that timeline, Schoepp has a strong head start. Dylan didn’t even release his first album until he was 20. - The Shepherd Express


Country and folk-rock, when of the Midwestern variety, contains an earnest quality. It’s not so much about boozin’ and brawlin’ as much as about life’s non-self-inflicted hard knocks in an introspective reflection versus extroverted display (think Wilco versus Hank Williams III). Although some musicians come close to nailing a middle ground (Ryan Adams and his earlier material or the Replacements more drawled-out moments), Trapper Schoepp hasn’t quite dug into this material yet. Could be his age (he’s all of 19 years old), or could be that he’s got loftier goals than what can be found inside the four walls of a bar. Likely, Schoepp’s material will eventually change and move, much like his new, aptly titled Lived and Moved release hints at. Or maybe he’s just reinventing Midwestern folk-rock altogether.

TrapperCDLead2The second release for Schoepp and the first for his outfit as Trapper Schoepp & The Shades, Lived and Moved is the chronicle of being young and moving from a tiny community more than 300 miles away to a bigger city… like… Milwaukee. Small-town Ellsworth, WI very well may have been a sleepy place to call home for an adolescent, and Lived and Moved is filled with the tell-tale growing pains. Songs about young love lost (“Between the Lines”) and searching for a home in “Driving All Night” alternately pick up with lively piano, organ, lap-steel and dueling acoustic and electric guitars, only to mellow-ly drag down to lay claim to more prominent vocal harmonies from siblings Trapper (guitar/vocals) and Tanner (bass/vocals) Schoepp. Each is a story one step further into adulthood.

Recorded at Howl Street Studios in Milwaukee and produced by Justin Perkins, Lived and Moved undeniably sounds more mature than Schoepp’s first release (A Change in the Weather); it’s piano-driven qualities rein in a delightful pop quality, while Schoepp takes time to mess around with pedals and even a little feedback at some points. Although nothing to shake things up, Lived and Moved sounds solid and easily highlights Schoepp and company as a young and talented group, stylistically shifting and adding a new layer to how Midwestern twang currently sounds. - Third Coast Digest


Today’s song (and album) comes right in time for the slew of local holiday weekend shows…what a batch to preview! Milwaukee’s Trapper Schoepp & the Shades‘ new album Run, Engine, Run will be released on Good Land Records this Friday, right in time for their Turner Hall show with .357 String Band (who just announced that this show will be their last together as a band) and Those Poor Bastards.

Milwaukee’s A.V. Club is calling it “a huge step forward in its laid-back roots-rock sound,” since the release of 2009's Lived and Moved, and although the band gets pegged for a laid-back and drawling heartland sound, their cohesion on stage makes them pop amongst like-minded outfits. Maybe it’s the whole band of brothers thing with Trapper Schoepp (guitar/vocals) and Tanner Schoepp (bass/vocals)…maybe it’s just that they’re pretty darn good musicians. Nonetheless, Friday should be one for the books in regards to hellos and goodbyes. Thanks to the .357 String Band for so many years of great music. We’ll miss you. - WMSE


Today on 414 Music, we had Trapper Schoepp in for a solo acoustic performance. Trapper is the front man of Milwaukee band Trapper Schoepp and The Shades.

Their new disc Run Engine Run dropped last week, and I wanted to have Trapper in to tell us about the new project, the story behind the albums title and play a few songs from the album. - 88.9 Radio Milwaukee


In the press materials for Trapper Schoepp and the Shades' new CD, "Run, Engine, Run," Schoepp explains that the disc exists because of – and despite – a disc of another kind.

"I found myself prepping for surgery a month before recording our new album," recalls the 21-year-old Milwaukee native. "The pain of a slipped disc in my back had become intolerable, and the painkillers ineffectual. Postponing upcoming studio dates for the record seemed ludicrous, so here we are.

"It was this injury that got me to pick up the six-string in the first place. After a gnarly BMX bike crash, my mom encouraged a safer hobby and signed me up for guitar lessons. Fast-forward six years and I'm on an operating table at the Mayo Clinic for spinal decompression surgery, relaying my hospital experiences into songs."

Despite the physical pain and suffering that went into "Run, Engine, Run," the record is an uplifting set rooted in Americana of all stripes: Springsteen and Parsons elbow each other for space on songs that are little tributes to the Badger State.

Sleeved in a package that looks like an old Byrds record, "Run, Engine, Run" is a love letter to Wisconsin.

On the eve of its official release, we asked Schoepp more about it.

OnMilwaukee.com: I love that Wisconsin is all over the record.

Trapper Schoepp: Our music is an open invitation to everyone, Wisconsinite or not. With that said, I have a lot of Wisconsin pride that just naturally works its way into my lyrics.

OMC: Does that seem less risky in terms of a broader appeal now that Bon Iver have kind of given the state a renewed credibility in the music world?

TS: After Bon Iver's popularity, I think the music world started regarding Wisconsin as a strange, foreign place filled with cabins and lumberjacks. It seemed that the media focused more on the idea of recording in cabin rather than the music itself. These past few years have been big for Wisconsin as a whole, though. Between the Packers Super Bowl win and the Scott Walker controversy, all eyes have been on Wisconsin. I think that has made me think a lot about what it means to be a Wisconsinite. We take the good with the bad here.

OMC: Would it have mattered anyway? Presumably you'd write the songs you'd write.

TS: I don't think it would have mattered much. I wanted this collection to have a universal appeal, but still retain a distinct Midwestern sensibility. All the songs on "Run, Engine, Run" have a pretty direct story or theme, and conveying the setting of each narrative was just as important to me as the story itself. Location definitely has a big influence on my songwriting. I grew up in a small town called Ellsworth on the northwestern edge of Wisconsin, and I moved here for college a few years ago. I often tell people that I couldn't truly appreciate the country until I moved to the city and vice versa.

OMC: The record has a very unified sound; was it recorded all at once at the same studio with the same engineer?

TS: We recorded the drums in Shane Hochstetler's Howl Street Recordings and then did all of the overdubs at Justin Perkins' Mystery Room. Engineer Daniel James McMahon was in the studio with us every day and contributed some great piano and vocal harmonies.

The whole record was done over a two-week period about a month after I had major spinal surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., this summer. It was sort of a miracle that I was out of a hospital bed at that time, let alone recording an album.

OMC: Tell us about how the Pete Donnelly thing came about.

TS: Pete's band, The Figgs, are power-pop heroes to us. It was an honor to have Donnelly's hands on this album. Our drummer, Jon Phillip, plays with Pete in ex-Replacement Tommy Stinson's band, so that's the connection. Jon sent Pete a text and I think about week later our record was on a hard drive via New Jersey.

OMC: I like that while your sound is entrenched in American roots music, unlike many bands who mine similar territory, you're not afraid to kick it into high gear and play some rock and roll. In terms of influences, where does that rock and roll come from and where from does the more country side hail?

TS: My introduction to the cosmic side of country music came when I found a stack of Gram Parsons CDs on a 30-pack of PBR, compliments of my upstairs neighbor, Geo Valentine. It forever changed the way I thought about music. The records from Gram and the Flying Burrito Brothers are so wild and spontaneous, yet also have this real tender and sincere side.

Our more rockin' side comes from our affinity for bands like The Replacements and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Our sound is a concoction of a few different Americana traditions, but no matter what labels we gain, we'll always feel comfortable with just being a rock and roll band.

OMC: I also enjoy the artwork's nod to old Columbia album covers. I couldn't help but think of the Byrds.

TS: That's right on the money. I wanted it to be easy for people to put a face to the songs. To me, the best representation of art can often be its creator. Upon looking at some of my favorite album covers, I came to that conclusion. The art on the CD itself is taken from an old Wisconsin map.

Trapper Schoepp and the Shades officially launch "Run, Engine, Run," at a CD release party at Yield, Thursday, Dec. 8 at 9 p.m. Devil Met Contention and comedian Ryan Holman also perform. - On Milwaukee


Band name: Trapper Schoepp & the Shades

Who's who: Singer-guitarist Trapper Schoepp, 20; bassist Tanner Schoepp, 21; lead guitarist David Boigenzahn, 21; and drummer Sahan Jayasuriya, 25. Trapper spoke for the band.

When formed: Sometime in 2004, but the current lineup has been the same for about a year.

Website:www.myspace.com/trapperschoepp

Most recent album: "Lived and Moved," available on iTunes and www.cdbaby.com

Band name back story: The Shades can be interpreted as dark places filled with ambiguity; that's where I write songs. I figured that would be a very appropriate tag on our band name.

Describe your look: Pearl snaps and thrift-store clothes

Sell yourself in 20 words or less: I want the band to cover a lot of ground stylistically and to be very direct lyrically.

Favorite food on the road: The consensus in the van is usually Taco Bell.

Unofficial band beverage: Whatever is cheapest and coldest, which is frequently Hamm's or Old Milwaukee.

First gig: We played in a little café in a small yuppie town, Maiden Rock, Wis. My friend's mom set us up.

Worst gig: There were a few shows this summer that were rough to get through because I had a pretty severe case of mono.

Weirdest fan encounter: We played a show in Sheboygan. There was a very nice girl there. She bought a CD and was in the front row during our set. When we got home, she had added us on MySpace, and under her "people I'd like to meet" there was this giant picture of me.

Five CDs for a desert island: Harry Chapin, "Greatest Stories Live"; Tom Petty, "Full Moon Fever"; John Mellencamp, "John Cougar"; Fleetwood Mac, "Greatest Hits"; and R.E.M., "Out of Time."

Song you've written that you're most proud of: I started the song "94" an hour before I was leaving for a trip back home (Ellsworth). It's about going home and realizing that everything in the small town I grew up in (is) still the same. When I came back a week later, the whole song was finished.

Favorite cover song in your live show: "Dancing in the Dark" by Bruce Springsteen. We end it with a sound collage of feedback, loud guitars and oddly rhythmed drums. I think the Boss would be proud.

Greatest song ever written? "Like a Rolling Stone" by Bob Dylan. No song so poignantly captures the human condition. Everyone knows someone like the character in that song.

Biggest band achievement: Releasing two full-length albums before I was 20.

Where do you want to be in five years? On the road would be great, but I'm happy here in Milwaukee.

Why do you do this? No one has given me a good reason not to.

Next gig: 9 p.m. Thursday at the Cactus Club, 2496 S. Wentworth Ave., on a bill with David Vandervelde (of Secretly Canadian) and Brass Bed. Cover is $10. - Journal Sentinel


From museum tours to record shopping, there are plenty of things to do this Black Friday other than taking part in the annual Running Of The Moms. Friday is also chock-full of great live shows, and one of the best will take place at Turner Hall, where Milwaukee’s Trapper Schoepp And The Shades will celebrate the release of their newest album, Run, Engine, Run.

Run, Engine, Run is the group’s first release since 2009’s Lived And Moved, and represents a huge step forward in its laid-back, roots-rock sound. You can stream seven of the albums 12 tracks now at the band’s Soundcloud page, or listen to a live performance of Engine’s terrific lead-off track, “So Long,” below. Friday’s show also marks the final hurrah for the .357 String Band, who share the bill with Trapper Schoepp and Those Poor Bastards. - The Onion's AV-Club


A small dining room table sits in the center of the kitchen in Trapper Schoepp’s East Side duplex unit. The tabletop is filled with names scratched and scrawled by friends, bands passing through town and – even though most are crossed out – ex-girlfriends. The “T” for Trapper is carved entirely through the inch-thick table. It’s at this table that Schoepp wrote the jovial, rambling, heartbreak tune “Talking Girlfriend Blues” for his new record due this fall, the Brendan Benson-produced Rangers & Valentines. With those scratched-out names staring back at him, Schoepp wrote each verse of the song to explore a past relationship. But he did so with an awareness of the well-trod, overly sentimental singer-songwriter territory. So he added an extra layer by poking fun at the mawkish form, with tongue-in-cheek meta-commentary to complement the infectious melody. (“I know how there’s already a million songs/ About how guys and girls can’t get along/ I’ve been seeing a girl I won’t name/ I sure hope it don’t end up the same/ She said she might study abroad, be independent/ Me too.”)
Schoepp stands before his table, which is used for far more than dining. Photo by Adam Ryan Morris.
Schoepp stands before his table, which is used for far more than dining. Photo by Adam Ryan Morris.
Schoepp and brother Tanner recorded the album in Nashville with a backing band, the Shades; an assortment of session musicians; and notable contributors like Steve Selvidge of the Hold Steady, John Davis of Superdrag, and gospel singers the McCrary Sisters. (Comedian Marc Maron even shows up on the record, singing a group vocal for “Talking Girlfriend Blues.”)

The wide-ranging cast strengthens and broadens the band’s loose, shuffling rock ’n’ roll sound. “This is a total genre-hopping album,” says Schoepp, who cites Gram Parsons, Bob Dylan, John Prine, Bruce Springsteen, Warren Zevon and Harry Chapin as major inspirations. “[The album] goes wherever it wants. I didn’t want this record to be pigeonholed into a genre. It’s more a reflection of my record collection.”

It’s likely it also has something to do with the experience 25-year-old Schoepp gleaned from his busy touring schedule. His band has opened for seasoned veterans like the Wallflowers, the Jayhawks and the Old ’97s. “You become a product of the environment around you,” says Jon Phillip, the band’s once-full-time, now-occasional drummer. “Life gives you different influences, and I think that’s helped the music a lot.”

Schoepp credits two other musical mentors for his creative appetite: a rock ’n’ roll studies professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Martin Jack Rosenblum, who embodied an alter-ego, the Holy Ranger, as a renegade poet who romanticized riding motorcycles. Schoepp also cites his upstairs neighbor, George Valentine, with whom Schoepp would swap records and PBRs. Both men recently died, so Schoepp named the album for them. “These were mythical and mystical creatures to me,” he says.

On Rangers & Valentines, Schoepp continues to write narrative-driven songs, something he’s improved on from his first two albums, 2009’s Lived and Moved and 2011’s Run, Engine, Run. He drops his characters into adrenaline-filled situations – diseases, natural disasters, even war – to see how they endure in the face of danger. It may sound dramatic, but many of the dire situations come straight from Schoepp’s life.

“His whole personality revolves around telling people stories,” says the band’s former guitarist, Graham Hunt. “He’s the kind of guy that weird, funny situations follow him around, so he’s always got fuel for his stories.”

Back at his house, Schoepp walks downstairs and glances at a futon mattress in his rehearsal space. It prompts him to tell a story about salvaging the piece on a blind voyage to a cabin at Lake Winnebago. Next to the futon is a bass amp cabinet with the letters “G n R” duct-taped to its back. It was given to Tanner Schoepp by Tommy Stinson of Guns N’ Roses and the Replacements a few years ago. “Everything has a story in this house,” Trapper says.

Despite his collection of stories, Schoepp has only scratched the surface of his music career. But with Rangers & Valentines, his imprint has been pressed a little deeper.

Inside the Mind

Songwriting isn’t scientific, but Schoepp has a system of sorts.

There are three tried-and-true methods that Trapper Schoepp says he uses to write songs: “You dream ’em, you scheme ’em, or you be ’em.”

Dream ’em | “Ogallala”
“We’re driving home from California and there’s this terrible blizzard approaching us,” Schoepp says. “A semi jackknifes and goes on the other side of the interstate. We pulled off into the first town we could see, a town called Ogallala. We’re stuck there for three days. I was really sick, so I was taking NyQuil. You know how that goes. I woke up and this song dropped into my head.”

Scheme ’em | “Don’t Go”
“This song took five years to write,” Schoepp says. A soldier in uniform approached him after a show and recommended Schoepp write a song about a service member. “You keep doing your thing; I’ll keep doing mine,” Schoepp remembers responding. But he ended up taking the man’s advice and worked fervently with his brother on a narrative surrounding 9/11. “It’s heavy stuff, and with a song like this, you have to do your homework because you have to get it right,” Schoepp says.

Be ’em | “Mono Part II”
“Is this an episode of ‘House’ or what?” Schoepp’s doctor said before a misdiagnosed nasal infection turned out to be his second case of mononucleosis. “They prescribed me penicillin,” Schoepp says. “I woke up in the middle of the night and I was covered in hives. I couldn’t breathe.

“They found out that penicillin has an interaction with people who have the mono virus. That’s what they concluded. And as I sing in the song: ‘Well, there’s nothing you can do for mono/ So they just gave me Vicodin and sent me home.’” - Milwaukee Magazine


Discography

A Change in the Weather (2007)
Lived and Moved (2009)
Run, Engine, Run (2011)

Photos

Bio

Trapper Schoepp has the ear of a troubadour, the eye of a journalist and the heart of a young poet. He began writing songs at a tender age with startling facility, distilling rock, folk and country traditions into tunes that are at turns spirited and melancholy. Themes ranging from pride of place, love and adventure shine with surprisingly sophisticated metaphors for a songwriter so young. 2012's Run, Engine, Run wouldn’t be out of place filed next to other artists distinguished for their early talent like Justin Townes Earle, Ryan Adams and Lucero. Trapper, his brother Tanner, and the rest of their band The Shades return in 2014 after two years on the road stronger and wiser with a new album recorded in Nashville with Brendan Benson at the helm.

Band Members