In 2019, Milwaukee’s Trapper Schoepp hit a songwriter’s 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 Schoepp’s effort, he was granted Dylan’s 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 Wilco’s Patrick Sansone, and nearly a hundred international tour dates.
Schoepp explores themes of ghosts and rebirth, springtime and renewal on his album, May Day – out 5/21/21 on Grand Phony Records. “May Day is an ancient holiday that celebrates the arrival of springtime, the natural world and also workers’ rights. It’s also my birthday,” Schoepp says with a laugh. “After this trying winter, we found solace in making an album for the spring.”