Growing up in Minnesota, Trapper Schoepp took up the guitar at the age of 15 after injuring his back in a BMX accident. Inspired by his father's regular rotation of albums by R.E.M., John Cougar Mellencamp, Tom Petty, and Fleetwood Mac, Schoepp and his brother Tanner put together a group that became the local coffee-shop's in-house band. With his brother leaving to study in Milwaukee, Schoepp followed in his footsteps, studying at UWM and earning a degree in mass communication. Schoepp recorded his first two albums — 2007's A Change in the Weather and 2009's Lived and Moved — with his band, self-releasing them in the process, but it wasn't until the release of their third album, Run, Engine, Run, in 2011 that they broke big. Picked up by SideOneDummy and reissued the following year, Schoepp and the group headed out on tour with Frank Turner, the Jayhawks, and Social Distortion. By 2016, Schoepp had dropped the "and the Shades" moniker from his name and signed to Xtra Mile Recordings. His fourth album, Rangers & Valentines, with Brendan Benson in the producer's chair, arrived that year, and saw Schoepp expanding his sound with an added brass section. 2016 also saw him release the EP Bay Beach Amusement Park, a concept mini-album that revolved around Elvis Presley's favorite rollercoasters and theme park rides.
2018 saw him back in the studio, this time with producer Pat Sansone (Wilco, Robyn Hitchcock), for his fifth full length. Continuing with his character-driven songs that harked back to American troubadours of the 1950s and '60s, the album also saw him earning co-writing credits for "Oh, Wisconsin" alongside Bob Dylan (from lyrics that Dylan had originally written in 1961). The resulting album, Primetime Illusion, was issued by Xtra Mile at the beginning of 2019. ~ Rich Wilson