Trapper Schoepp performs at The Cabin

Schoepp’s narrative style is used through a variety of genres to tell of event-inspired experiences through song

Macey VanDenMeerendonk

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Photo by Macey VanDenMeerendonk

Trapper Schoepp and brother, Tanner Schoepp, performed original, co-written songs together to tell stories of their experiences.

Last Saturday two brothers shared their childhood stories through song in front of students and locals at The Cabin. Trapper Schoepp and his brother, Tanner Schoepp, played original songs that spanned a variety of genres.

With his brother playing bass, Schoepp started out on the piano and made a joke about his lack of skill on the instrument. He played a few songs before switching to guitar for the rest of the show.

Some of the songs on Shoepp’s albums use brass instruments, some have rock ‘n’ roll vibes and some incorporate a little country.

Schoepp said being able to switch between different genres allows for a better opportunity to grab people’s attention while also keeping himself interested in what he’s playing.

“It’s fun for me to kind of jump around,” Schoepp said. “Being a singer and songwriter, it creates space to wander.”

With a few albums under his belt, Schoepp played some crowd favorites from his first few albums. These included “Run, Engine, Run,” where the brothers gave some background on how the song came to be, and a few songs that told stories of rides at his favorite amusement park, Bay Beach.

Songs from the recently released EP about that amusement park were among the setlist last Saturday night. Some of these songs were “Tilt-A-Whirl,” “Zippin Pippin” and “The Ferris Wheel,” all of which shared some of brothers’ memories and’ favorite parts of the park.

Schoepp is known for his narrative style songs and was called a “master storyteller” by Huffington Post, according to his website.

“I think for me it’s less about trying to channel abstract feelings than it is about trying to tell a story and connect with a theme.” Schoepp said.

His songs are a narrative but less “beginning, middle, end” and more of a bite-sized piece of a larger story, he said.

This gives Schoepp a challenge, he said. He also said it’s fun for him to set up the songs he performs by telling the audience where they came from before playing them.

Kate Dyson, a second-year psychology student, said she enjoyed listening to Trapper Schoepp and his brother perform. She said she hadn’t heard of them before and she heard an announcement of their performance and decided to check it out.

Dyson said she liked that UW-Eau Claire has these performances on the weekends showcasing talented artists from the area.

“They’re really good,” Dyson said, “and I think it’s nice that you get to see a different amount of talent from all over, especially local. It’s something kind of new and different to do on a weekend night.”

After completing their set, the brothers performed a two-song encore at the request of the audience. Locals and students — some new followers of the group and some devoted returning fans — urged the brothers to continue their performance.

Schoepp said he has played at The Cabin many times and said he even played when it was the “sketchy Cabin” in the old union before the Davies Student Center’s renovation.

His tour has expanded since then, and Schoepp said he is now playing all over the world at music festivals, clubs, concerts in the park and opening up for bigger artists like The Wallflowers.

Schoepp said he has been touring full-time for about five years, and when he isn’t on tour, he is teaching guitar.

He said occasionally he scores sound tracks or videos and also works on getting his music placed in advertisements, TV shows and films.

“That’s a really big part of the music industry and where it’s headed,” Schoepp said. “Getting your work in other media.”

Schoepp announced during the show that he will be releasing a song that incorporates both his home state and Bob Dylan. The song is called “On, Wisconsin,” and it included previously unpublished lyrics written by the young Dylan and mentions of the dairy state.

Schoepp said when he was 16 years old, he really got into music. After an injury that landed him in a “chill zone,” his mom told him to try guitar and signed him up for lessons.

Schoepp said his introduction to music, earning a rock and roll studies certificate from UW-Milwaukee and all the experiences that inspire his story-telling songs all make up what he creates as an artist and is shown in the songs he writes and performs.

More information about Schoepp can be found on his website.