For his second album, Rangers & Valentines, Trapper Schoepp turned to his family’s past for inspiration. Though “Ballad Of Olof Johnson” sounds like a rather tall folktale, Schoepp explains the song’s inspiration comes from his own bloodline.
The song relays the family legend of Trapper’s Swedish immigrant ancestor, Olof Johnson, and how he survived his first winter in America as he headed west via covered wagon. With winter winds howling, Olof dug a hole in the ground, tipped his supply wagon over for cover, and literally lived in the South Dakota earth until the snow melted. There is a companion website to tell the harrowing full story at OlofJohnson.com.
It’s fitting that Schoepp elected to make the song’s video a take on The Oregon Trail. Though Olof Johnson’s journey proves as harrowing as any, the lighthearted video, paired with Schoepp’s bouncy alt-country, makes for a trip that’s far less taxing than that of Johnson’s. Pre-orders for Rangers & Valentines are available now ahead of the album’s release on April 1 on Xtra Mile Recordings, and each one comes with an immediate download of “Ballad Of Olof Johnson.”