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Wisconsin musician gets co-writing credit from Bob Dylan

Nearly 60 years ago, Bob Dylan wrote a song about Wisconsin, but never finished or recorded it. So Trapper Schoepp, a Wisconsin musician and Dylan fan, decided to finish it himself.

MINNEAPOLIS — You've probably heard of Bob Dylan.

Odds are, though, you haven't heard of Trapper Schoepp.

But Schoepp and Dylan are now forever connected thanks to a song Dylan originally wrote nearly six decades ago. 

When Dylan was 20 years old, he wrote a song about Wisconsin that he never finished or recorded. 57 years later, his two sheets of music for that song went up for auction for $30,000.

Credit: WEDC
Original lyric sheet from Bob Dylan of song about Wisconsin. Credit: WEDC.

Schoepp didn't have that kind of money, but he decided to work on the song anyway after seeing a photo of those pages with the original lyrics. 

"I thought, well I should probably finish the song - I'm a Wisconsinite who digs Dylan," Schoepp said.

Dylan had two pages of lyrics about Wisconsin complete. Schoepp shaped up the lyrics, added a chorus and created the melody. He titled the song On Wisconsin.

RELATED: So you’re a Bob Dylan fan visiting Minnesota: Five must-see stops

After Schoepp recorded it, the song started to gain some notoriety. Dylan's people eventually drafted up an agreement giving Schoepp a co-writing credit from Dylan. They had to get Dylan's approval - and they did.

"It's pretty crazy," Schoepp said.

The song is written from the perspective of a drifter, he explained. 

"He's imagining this safe homeland filled with our finest exports in Wisconsin, being cheese, milk and beer," Schoepp said. 

He drew a lot of inspiration from his own life of touring, he explained.

"It's so cool to now be able to share a co-write with my hero in a song about my state," Schoepp said. "You can't make it up."

Schoepp is heading to Europe for a few months with his band to tour.

To learn more about him and his music, click here.

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