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Trapper Schoepp captures famous Milwaukee fugitive (in song)

A close-up of a needlepoint with the word Bambi in large letters.
Robin O'Brien
Trapper Schoepp

It was almost a year ago that Trapper Schoepp talked to 88Nine music director Erin Wolf about the storied location that played such a big role in the recording of his new album, Siren Songs. The influence of Cash Cabin was so outsized, apparently, that Schoepp is still releasing fresh music that feels right up the Man in Black’s alley.

Today, Schoepp put out “Bambi,” a track that recounts the saga of Lawrencia Bembenek. Before we get too far along, a quick note that the song includes several details from the case, so if things like that make you squeamish or are potentially upsetting, feel free to pop over to a different area of the website.

Murder ballads are, of course, long-standing members of the music world. Johnny Cash certainly didn’t shy away from the topic, having laid down songs like “Delia’s Gone” and a cover of Lefty Frizzell’s “Long Black Veil.” Schoepp (who himself recorded a version of LBV) dug into Milwaukee history for his contribution to the genre, penning lyrics that pull from the Bembenek case, including the initial crime, subsequent trial and eventual escape from the Taycheedah Correctional Institution:

Took her jeans to the laundry
Through a window she fleed
And there he was waiting
On the other side of the trees
She said, “They all call me Bambi
But you can call me Laurie”

The song recorded at Cash Cabin in May of 2022 was produced by Patrick Sansone and John Jackson, who have worked with the likes of Wilco and The Jayhawks, respectively. Sonically, it removes the story from its Badger State setting and gives it an almost “fugitive on the open prairie” feel with fiddle and piano flourishes straight out of the saloon. Wauwatosa meets the Wild West, if you will.

You can listen to “Bambi” right here and find links to all things Trapper — including music, merch, upcoming shows and social links — on his official website.