Waking up and drinking a shot of whiskey before work comes with the job sometimes for songwriter Joshua Popejoy. By the end of Sunday night, he’ll have performed three times in a 24 hour span – playing at the Grape Room on June 5, followed by the East Falls bike race block party on June 5 at Ridge and Midvale streets and then closing Sunday night at the Falls Taproom from 6 to 9 p.m. Popejoy says drinking plenty of tea and a few shots of bourbon and honey relaxes his throat and keeps his voice loose.Performing acoustic guitar-driven music is a way for Popejoy to relax and dabble in ways his regular job playing and teaching classical trombone does not.”In classical music, you’re one-ninetieth of the group. There’s a such thing as perfection. It’s almost mathematical,” says Popejoy, 30. “I picked up guitar to remember why I play music.”Popejoy, a Kansas City native, moved to Philadelphia in 2004 to study for his master’s degree in music performance. But within in a year he had quit school to pursue his solo career, and found an apartment in a neighborhood called East Falls from searching internet listings. He’s remained in East Falls since then, because Popejoy says the neighborhood offers enough greenery for a mid-westerner like Popejoy to feel comfortable and attracts musicians like him. Every week, Popejoy sees some of East Falls’ talent as he hosts open mic nights at the Falls Taproom on Thursdays.His open mic nights have remained a fixture at Falls Taproom through its previous two owners, when it was the former Buckets.
“[Popejoy] brings a great crowd each week,” says Falls Taproom owner Marvin Graaf. “We’re going in the direction of having more live music.”Graaf, 29, purchased the former Buckets a year and a half ago, and has since quadrupled the establishment’s selection of draft beers, added more than 90 craft beer bottles and embellished the menu to include plates like smoked gouda and bacon macaroni and cheese and rosemary garlic pierogis.
“When I first moved [to East Falls] there really wasn’t a place for young professionals,” says Popejoy. “Marvin [Graaf] just wants good food, good beer, and that’s it.”
Although, Graaf says the East Falls bike race will harken to his bar’s previous incarnation as a college hangout when it was Buckets.”There’s a lot of really drunk people,” he says.