Think of Americana or modern roots music and your mind may leap to Wilco or a similar band. But in the hands of Milwaukee's Trapper Schoepp and his band The Shades, you oughta harken back a bit further, to the rootsy but still edgy late-period records by Minneapolis' landmark band The Replacements.
Schoepp, 19, moved to Milwaukee from up north after he graduated high school. Here, he hooked up with producer Justin Perkins to create his sophomore disc, "Lived and Moved." The record, which follows 2007's "A Change in the Weather," says Schoepp is rooted in his reality.
Schoepp and The Shades celebrate the release of "Lived and Moved" with a release party gig at The Miramar Theater on Friday. You can hear them on Kramp & Adler on Friday, too, at 9:15 a.m. on 102.1 FM.
"I began writing the first track, 'Let Me Know,' in 2006 and finished the last track, 'Breeze,' while in the studio last August," he said. "During that stretch of time, I graduated from high school, moved 300 miles south to Milwaukee, and experienced relocation blues, hence the record's seemingly literal title. My intention was to create a straightforward album that reflected candidly on this period of my life."
And that's just what he's done with melodic, jangly pop-inflected rock and roll firmly entrenched in American roots sounds.
During this time the name of the band has evolved, too, says Schoepp, who used to front what was called the Trapper Schoepp Band.
"We've started incorporating The Shades into our band name," he said, "and I really like what that moniker conveys. In a literal sense, shades cast darkness, offering refuge from the sunlight, and although it is an abstraction, I identify this concept with songwriting. There's something remedia about trying to pull meanings from our shaded, ambiguous thoughts and writing music becomes cathartic.
"The progression of this album also reflects our new name, and the songs become progressively darker in subject and sound."
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.