Trapper Schoepp’s new album Rangers & Valentines is awesome and I’m constantly listening to it. It’s been out since April 1st via Xtra Mile Recordings and you should give it a listen if you haven’t already. His latest music video is for the track “Settlin or Sleepin Around” and guest stars Richard Riehle (Office Space). “I HAVE PEOPLE SKILLS!”
Produced by pop polymath and Raconteurs member Brendan Benson at his Readymade Studios in Nashville and released on Friday, April 1, Rangers & Valentines (iTunes), finds the teller of tales (both tall and true) handling vocals, guitar and harmonica. On the recording, Schoepp is aided by an array of estimable musicians including his brother, songwriting partner and musical-foil-since-birth Tanner Schoepp (providing bass guitar and vocal harmonies), Steve Selvidge (The Hold Steady), John Davis (Superdrag), the McCrary Sisters, and even comedian and WTF podcaster Marc Maron chips in on background vocals and lead guitar.
Trapper Schoepp is a young man who’s befriended a strange and diverse cast of characters during his 24 years. That small army of rogues and romantics, drifters and dreamers, soldiers and schemers populate his songs, their tragedies and comedies, their lives and deaths recalled in his finely etched musical vignettes. Rangers & Valentines follows his critically acclaimed 2012 debut showcase, Run Engine, Run, (SideOneDummy Records) with his band The Shades. The LP earned notices in Rolling Stone, American Songwriter and Paste, with the folks at Huffington Post calling him a “master storyteller” and PBS hailing his work as “story songs that explore and explode the conventions of rock and roll.”
On the new album, Schoepp defies the limitations of the standard-issue Americana platter by hopping genres – you’ll hear lots of brass, backing singers and B-3 – as the songs build to delirious musical highs. His narratives, meanwhile, find subjects in the narrow margins of society, the strange twists (literal and metaphorical) in the weather, and the vagaries of a troubadour’s transient life – with lyrics that flash a lacerating wit and humanist streak that’s at the core of his craft.
Through his work, he shines up the well-worn clichés of singer-songwriterdom and renders them anew. Evoking a series of vivid protagonists and settings (fittingly, each track will have its own accompanying video, solidifying the cinematic quality of this set) his work variously recalls prime Prine (John, that is), the nuances of Newman (Randy, of course), the boozy bonhomie of The Replacements, and the unflinching language of someone well-versed in the Zevonian dialect.
Schoepp – who’s already crisscrossed the country sharing stages with fellow travelers like The Wallflowers, The Jayhawks and The Old 97’s – will be back on the road throughout 2016 in support of Rangers & Valentines. Dates below with more to follow shortly.
04 – Belleville, WI – Paoli Schoolhouse
18 – Sun Prairie, WI – Sun Prairie Block Party
24 – Madison, WI – UW Madison (Memorial Union Terrace)
01 – Milwaukee, WI – Summerfest (Harley Davidson Roadhouse)
05 – Rockford, IL – Anderson Japanese Gardens
05 – Appleton, WI – Mile of Music Festival
12 – Burlington, WI – Tall Tales Music Festival
31 – Wauwatosa, WI – Tosa Tonight
Buy his album on iTunes now!