I’ve always been obsessed with songs that mention my hometown of Omaha and it seems songwriters are obsessed with mentioning Omaha in their songs. Waylon Jennings, Tom Waits, Gary Louris, Bob Seger, Moby Grape, John Prine, Counting Crows, They Might Be Giants and numerous other artists have all name dropped Omaha.
It’s time to add Wisconsin native Trapper Schoepp to the list, with his song about another city in Nebraska, “Ogallala” from his new LP, Rangers & Valentines.
Ogallala, Nebraska: Population 4,737.
Where is Ogallala? If driving on I-80 West to Colorado or East to Omaha, you can’t miss Ogallala, or maybe you can – if you blink. When exiting the interstate at Ogallala, you’ll notice roads named Stagecoach Trail, Pony Express Lane, Chuckwagon Road and Prospector Drive. Within minutes, you quickly get a view of the town’s history.
What do you do if you’re a touring band and Mother Nature forces you to exit in Ogallala? Well, you write a song about it. From Trapper himself: ‘Twas the week before Christmas and I-80 was coated in black ice. We were in the middle of a marathon drive from California through the great plains of Nebraska. A trucker in front of us jackknifed and spun over into oncoming traffic. Scared shitless, we took the next exit for a town called Ogallala. We watched the Hobbit starring Martin Freeman. He plays the role of a character hesitant to leave home. Stranded 837 miles from my home and identifying with the part he played, I woke up the next day with this song in my head.
That’s the sign of a strong songwriter – taking the mundane and turning it into something captivating. Having shared the stage with the likes of Rhett Miller, Gary Louris, label-mate Frank Turner and numerous others, Mr. Schoepp has had an opportunity to learn from some of the best songwriters today.
It’s not just the song that’s captivating, but video illustrator Alex Rosas does a tremendous job of capturing the spirit of the song and town on a cold winter night.
Popdose is proud to premiere the brand new Trapper Schoepp video for “Ogallala.”
Produced by Brendan Benson, Rangers & Valentines is available now from XtraMile Records and features guests: Steve Selvidge from The Hold Steady, McCrary Sisters, John Davis from Superdrag, Jeremy & Spencer from Steelism and even Marc Maron from WTF.