Musical alumnus stays close to home

Hopscotch Jefferson will release its new EP in November of this year.


When most bands are asked to describe their music, they will throw out a few genres or a list of artistic influences typical to their preferred musical style.

Hopscotch Jefferson gives a slightly more descriptive answer.

 “Folksy, blues, deer jerky-cool, favorite older cousin punk Elvis,” guitarist Steven Walz said.

Hopscotch Jefferson will be dropping a new EP in November. The EP, titled “Ham & Fireworks”, makes its debut with an album release show at the Grape Room club on Nov. 7.

With influences in genres ranging everywhere from blues, to grunge, to pop-punk, the group promises that this project will showcase its varying musical styles. While this latest release was prerecorded at a studio, the group’s demos are typically recorded on the spot.

Now together for two years, Hopscotch Jefferson’s lineup consists of guitarist/ lead vocalist Hank Brady, guitarist and Temple alumnus Steve Walz, bassist Pat Shire and drummer Anthony Brunke.

The group got its beginnings from an idea to combine Brady’s songwriting ability and Walz’s bluesy guitar stylings, with Brunke joining later on to help record demos and Shire climbing aboard further down the road to substitute for a former bassist at a gig.

After throwing around several bizarre ideas (Hopscotch Stevens and the Studs, Chili Davis and the Moonlight Diners), the name “Hopscotch Jefferson” was eventually born from the band member’s attempts to make each other laugh by coming up with ludicrous names.

Each musician in the group brings a new sound to the table, with the member’s individual influences including artists like Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and Soundgarden.

In their time as a band, the four-man musical collective landed gigs everywhere from The Silk City Bar to Arcadia University, and managed to win the Hard Rock Café’s Philadelphia Rock Artist of the Year Award in 2013.

Between finding motivation for songwriting and putting together tracks, Walz said recording an album is no easy process.

“Some songs basically write themselves in a few minutes with the right riff or rhythm. Other songs could take months to get it where you want it,” Walz said.  “As cliché as it is, influence for a song can come from anywhere. Songs can come from personal experiences or be completely made up.”

The lead single off of the band’s new EP, “Dirty Love Song,” pairs rapid-fire vocals with a twangy, heavily strummed guitar featured song. The music video for “Dirty Love Song” can be found on the band’s YouTube channel.

While some artists find it difficult to get a foot in the door within the Philadelphia music scene, Hopscotch Jefferson has found various ways to promote themselves.

“We get gigs through friends, family, or other bands,” Walz said. “You’ve got to network with everyone you can.”

Aside from its EP debut at the Grape Room, Hopscotch Jefferson will be performing at the Silk City Bar on Sept. 16.

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