Over the course of just three albums, starting in 2011, Wisconsin’s Trapper Schoepp has quietly, steadily been winning over a slew of followers.
That’s not surprising given his knack for writing, catchy, memorable songs that stay with you long after the music has stopped. What is surprising is that his indie rock has managed to win over a solidly diverse group of music fans, from pop and alt country to punk rock. As a result, over the years he’s been asked to tour with groups as disparate as the BoDeans, the Old 97s, and Social Distortion.
His latest and fourth LP, Primetime Illusion, is his best so far. Across 11 tracks, Schoepp has hit his stride lyrically, turning i compelling ,character-driven sketches backed by strong hooks and melodies. From the opening shot, the steady, slow build of “Shakedown” to more straight-ahead rock on songs like “Freight Train” or the brilliant anti-sexual assault track “What You Do to Her” (with a great cameo by Nicole Atkins), Schoepp and his band take a massive step forward in their music.
The record closes with “On Wisconsin,” an old unfinished Bob Dylan tune that Schoepp was able to complete and shares co-writing credit with fellow Midwesterner Mr. Zimmerman. Even though the style of “On Wisconsin” is a little removed from the rest of the record, it’s an obvious classic.
It’s taken less than a decade, but Schoepp has finally created a nearly flawless album that is certain to be a benchmark by which all future music he makes will be compared to.