‘Rangers & Valentines’ – Out April 1st on Xtra Mile Recordings
Trapper Schoepp is a young man who has befriended a strange and diverse cast of characters during his 24 years. That small army of rogues and rebels, drifters and dreamers, soldiers and schemers populate his songs, their tragedies and comedies, their lives and deaths recalled in his finely etched musical vignettes.
The Minnesota-born, Wisconsin-based tunesmith and teller of tales (both tall and true), returns with his second effort Rangers & Valentines (Xtra Mile Recordings). The record follows his critically acclaimed 2012 debut Run Engine, Run, with his band the Shades. That 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 ‘story songs that explore and explode the conventions of rock and roll.’
On Rangers & Valentines, Schoepp defies the limitations of the standard-issue Americana platter, 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.
Produced by pop polymath and Raconteurs member Brendan Benson at his Readymade Studios in Nashville, the record finds Schoepp handling vocals, guitar and harmonica. He’s aided by an array of estimable musicians including his brother and musical-foil-since-birth Tanner Schoepp (providing bass guitar and vocal harmonies), Steve Selvidge (The Hold Steady), John Davis (Superdrag), the McCrary Sisters — even comedian and WTF podcaster Marc Maron chips in on background vocals and lead guitar.