Another recommended album with many rewards found on repeated plays. Give it a listen.
Trapper Schoepp is an American singer-songwriter based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He is a seasoned performer and artist and this is reflected throughout this 12-track album. Recorded at ‘Johnny Cash’s Cash Cabin’ in Tennessee, it has more of a gaelic influence than one of country or bluegrass music. Produced by ‘John Jackson’ (Jayhawks, Ray Davies) and Patrick Sansone (Wilco), it is not a concept album as such, but ‘Siren Songs’ does however use the sea and water as its main themes throughout. Schoepp notes The Clancy Brothers, The Chieftains and Paul Brady as key Inspirations, going on to say that “If it wasn’t for the song ‘Arthur McBride’ by Paul Brady, this album probably wouldn’t exist”
The story of Annie Edson Taylor’s harrowing trip over Niagara Falls inside a wooden barrel in 1901 is the topic of ‘Queen of the Mist’, a particular standout track, drawing very much from The Waterboys and Deacon Blue. As does ‘Secrets of the Breeze’ with its jaunty tom-tom beat, brisk whistle, mandolin, and violin accompaniment. It’s a nautical tale inspired by Schoepp’s own brushes with death on Lake Michigan. ‘Good Graces’ could have been a traditional Gaelic song. Written and performed with a confidence that is evident throughout the album. ‘Eliza’ also falls into the same category, an arm-waving sing-along song and another standout. The most countryish of the songs is the uplifting standout ‘Diocese’ with some fine pedal steel playing which is equalled by the fine piano and mandolin playing and is the most musical song on the album. It would be a hit played live.
Lyrically it’s a very interesting album in the great story tradition. The musicianship is excellent throughout and seductively done although the repeated use of tom-toms on a few tracks can make some of the songs sound samey but that is a minor point as quality shines throughout this recommended release.