Trapper Schoepp’s Long Road to ‘Rangers and Valentines’

Extraordinary experiences seem to find Trapper Schoepp, who celebrates the release of his long-awaited new album, “Rangers and Valentines,” April 1 at Anodyne in Walker’s Point. Plus: Nintendo Night at Mad Planet, our Stream of the Week, and a loaded live music calendar.

It’s been a long road traveled for Trapper Schoepp, but the Milwaukee-based singer-songwriter probably wouldn’t rather have it any other way.

I previewed his forthcoming album, Rangers and Valentines, back in the July 2015 issue of Milwaukee Magazine before Schoepp had a solid release date. The album is finally coming out this Friday, April 1 on Xtra Mile Recordings. Schoepp is celebrating the occasion with a release party at Anodyne Coffee in Walkers Point.

“This is a total genre-hopping album,” Schoepp, who cited Gram Parsons, Bob Dylan, John Prine, Bruce Springsteen, Warren Zevon and Harry Chapin as major inspirations, told me for that Milwaukee Magazine piece. “[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.”

Rangers and Valentines feels less like a group of songs and more like a collection of short stories. On “Mono Part II” Schoepp tells how a misdiagnosis led him to experience a periling reaction, before the doctor accurately diagnosed that Schoepp had actually contracted mono for a second time—an extremely rare occurrence. Another, “Ogallala” he dreamed up after contracting a chest cold on tour and taking some NyQuil to get to sleep.

He also details an old family legend on “Ballad of Olof Johnson,” where his great uncle is stranded in a blizzard in route to Minnesota. Rather than perish, he relies on his survivalist know-how and digs a hole to provide some warmth and flips his wagon to cover himself from the snow.

These extraordinary experiences just seem to find Schoepp. He recorded the album in Nashville with producer Brendan Benson (of The Raconteurs), who brought in some notable session musicians to the recordings, like Steve Selvidge of the Hold Steady, John Davis of Superdrag, and gospel singers the McCrary Sisters.

One evening two members of his backing band, The Shades, ran into comedian Marc Maron and brought him back to jam a bit. If you listen closely, you may hear him singing a group vocal on “Talking Girlfriend Blues.” So while this album took a long time to come to fruition, it’s undeniable that Schoepp got some good stories out of it.

Trapper Schoepp celebrates the release of Rangers and Valentines at Walkers Point Anodyne Coffee, 224 W. Bruce St., with Jesse Malin opening. The show starts 8 p.m. and costs $15.

Nintendo Night

If leaving the couch and your Xbox controller on Saturday night sounds like a terrifying proposition, let Nintendo Night at Mad Planet ease you into some nightlife. Feel those comforting 8-bit sounds from chiptune punk band Awkward Terrible and DJ Subspace. Stick around for The Zelda Routine, who cover all those great rock opera ballads from The Legend of Zelda. The show starts at 9 p.m.

Stream of the Week

Dream Attics, we hardly knew thee. The electro-soul duo of singer Shane English and producer Nick Tovarek played their first show at Mad Planet back in May 2015. But just a few months later, the two relocated to Austin, Texas for a change of scenery and a bigger stage and better chance of being discovered. Last week they released their second EP, Fears, which is as atmospheric and glitchy as debut EP UNBEND, but displays more confidence than its predecessor.

This Week in Live Music

Tuesday, March 29: Jerkagram with Mended, Monotaur and Apollo Vermouth at High Dive, 9 p.m. (FREE)

Wednesday, March 30: The Record Company at Turner Hall Ballroom, 8 p.m. ($8.89) – (1032 N. 4th St.,

Also: G-Eazy with Nef The Pharaoh, Marty Grimes & Daghe at The Rave, 8 p.m. ($37-$112) – (2401 W. Wisconsin Ave.,

And: Wild Pink with The Women, Bad Wig and Iron Pizza at Bremen Cafe, 9 p.m. (FREE)

Thursday, March 31: Summer Twins with Moving Panoramas, Thelma & The Sleaze and Apollo Vermouth at Cactus Club, 8 p.m. – (2496 S. Wentworth Ave.,

Also: Thao & The Get Down Stay Down with Saintseneca at Turner Hall Ballroom, 8 p.m. ($15) – (1032 N. 4th St.,

And: Chicago with Earth, Wind & Fire at BMO Harris Bradley Center, 7:30 p.m. ($32-$104) – (1001 N. 4th St.,

And: Leggy with SinBad, Arc Flash and Fox Face at Riverwest Public House, 9 p.m. ($5)

Friday, April 1: Trapper Schoepp (album release) with Jesse Malin at Walker’s Point Anodyne Coffee, 8 p.m. ($15) – (224 W. Bruce St.,

Also: Howardian with Dogs In Ecstasy, Iron Pizza, Dream Vacation and Thee Lexington Arrows at Bremen Cafe, 9 p.m. (FREE)

Saturday, April 2: Cactus Club Comedy & Music with Bo Triplex & His Beautiful Band at Cactus Club, 9 p.m. ($7) – (2496 S. Wentworth Ave.,

Also: Restorations with The Dirty Nil, Creepoid and NO/NO at Club Garibaldi, 8 p.m.

And: Zelda Routine, Awkward Terrible, Subspace at Mad Planet, 9 p.m. ($5)

Sunday, April 3: Meat Loaf at The Riverside Theater, 8 p.m. ($45.50-$85.50) – (116 W. Wisconsin Ave.,

Also: Yonatan Gat with Rio Turbo and Lorde Fredd33 at Company Brewing, 9 p.m. – (735 E. Center St.,

And: Mamiffer with Jon Mueller and Cleared at Cactus Club, 8 p.m. ($8)

And: Quilt with Mortgage Freeman at Mad Planet, 9 p.m. ($8 advance, $10 door) – (533 E. Center St,



Kevin is a freelance writer residing in Milwaukee. He’s contributed to The Shepherd Express, Third Coast Daily, Pop Matters and the sadly now-defunct A.V. Club Milwaukee. He looks forward to forging a deeper connection with the city’s impressive music scene during his gig as a Music Notes blogger. His talents include music criticism, riding a bicycle, drinking tasty beers and a crafty croquet swing. His weaknesses comprise Jean-Claude Van Damme movies, professional wrestling and his ever-growing record collection. He’s in desperate need to find more physical (and hard drive) space for the exceptional albums Milwaukee musicians keep churning out.