Trapper Schoepp: Primetime Illusion
Trapper Schoepp’s rollicking, robust Primetime Illusion is the album that will deservingly put the Wisconsin-bred musician on a truly national level, but the fact that the album boasts a co-writing credit with Bob Dylan on closing cut “On, Wisconsin” will likely be the buzz that initially translates as an ideal headline. The song, built around a forgotten Dylan lyric and given full consent from the Bard’s management, is a glorious and gilded example of Schoepp’s creativity and confidence, and yet, it’s only one of a multitude of celebratory songs that grace this buoyant effort. The Dylan factor aside, the LP veers closest to Springsteen, Mellencamp and Willie Nile, especially when it comes to the anthemic resolve Schoepp stirs up throughout. And, the behindthe-boards guidance of Wilco’s Pat Sansone adds an edgier imprint to the equation without muting Schoepp’s obvious enthusiasm. The big beat of the effusive opening track, “Shakedown,” finds a natural fit with more assertive songs like “It’s Over,” “Drive-Thru Divorce” and “What You Do to Her”—the latter, a duet with Nicole Atkins, boasting sentiments that share sympathies with those supporting, and supported by, the MeToo movement. Still, there’s no denying Schoepp’s penchant for pure pop and reliance on radio-ready refrains that convey his eagerness and enthusiasm. “Freight Train” and “If All My Nines Were X’s” are ideal candidates for future stadium staples, although one also gets a sense that Schoepp is interested in more than simply posing and posturing. Granted, with a title like Primetime Illusion , that sincerity may be called into question, but it does not diminish the immediate appeal.