Title - May Day
Artist - Trapper Schoepp
For those unaware, in 2019, Milwaukees Trapper Schoepp hit a songwriters jackpot: a co-write with Bob Dylan. And the circumstances were wildly serendipitous.
On the day Dylan entered Columbia Studios in 1961 to begin recording his first studio album, he wrote a song about Wisconsin. The lyric sheet sat unseen with a former roommate, and was later unearthed and put up for auction at $30,000.
Schoepp saw the story and seized the opportunity to set music to words. After Schoepps effort, he was granted Dylans approval to jointly publish the song.
This 57-year-collaboration On, Wisconsin led to features in Rolling Stone and Billboard, an album called Primetime Illusion produced by Wilcos Patrick Sansone, and nearly a hundred international tour dates.
But other ventures in the singer-songwriters life were not as fulfilling.
Schoepp spent the summer prior to the release of Primetime Illusion at the Hotel Astor, a historic 1920s hotel he describes as having the air of a haunting Stephen King novel.
Indulging in the spookiness of his transient lodgings, Schoepp went on a ghost tour of Milwaukee, and as the specters saw fit, the tour ended back at the very hotel where he was staying.
The guide shared the story of a 1935 fire that claimed the lives of a nurse and her patient, a deaf man who did not wake to the nurses pounding at his door. With creative liberties, Schoepp reimagined their story into Hotel Astor.
Schoepp explores themes of ghosts and rebirth, springtime and renewal on his new album, May Day out May 5th, 2021 on Grand Phony Records.
May Day is an ancient holiday that celebrates the arrival of springtime, the natural world and also workers rights. It is also my birthday, Schoepp says with a laugh. After this trying winter, we found solace in making an album for the spring.
1. May Day
2. Hotel Astor
3. River Called Disaster
4. Yellow Moon
5. Paris Syndrome
6. Little Drop of Medicine
7. Solo Quarantine
8. I Am a Rider
9. It Didnt Take
10. Something About You
This quite crisply sonic, resonatingly heartfelt, troubadour-imbued new album opens on the light and cheery title track and then slips seamlessly into the mid-tempo rocker Hotel Astor before bringing us the addictive foot-tapper River Called Disaster, and the summer breeze of Yellow Moon and the acoustic ballad Paris Syndrome.
Up next is the earnest blues rocker Little Drop of Medicine which is itself backed by the warm storytelling of Solo Quarantine, with the pleasant hipsway of I Am a Rider along next, the album closing on the rambunctious It Didnt Take and then the dulcet, organic complexions of the ballad Something About You.
May Day, the halfway point between the spring equinox and the summer solstice, has historically been observed with dancing and singing around a maypole.
Schoepps album cover features a Roaring Twenties era photo of women dancing around a maypole alongside the Washington Monument, which was found in a Library of Congress archive by his brother and bassist/singer, Tanner Schoepp, and adapted into album art by designer, Daniel Murphy (Bon Iver, The War On Drugs).
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