Metchosin-based rock and blues guitarist Jesse Roper brings a new slate of songs to a pair of stops in Victoria as part of his fall West Coast tour. Christopher Edmonstone Photography

Hometown rocker Roper touring with material from ambitious new album

Evolved sound in Access to Infinity builds on rootsy, rock ‘n’ roll downhome vibe of previous album

By Rae Porter

Monday Magazine contributor

Jesse Roper, the free-wheelin’ spirit hailing from the meadows of Metchosin, has been the Island’s golden boy for many a-year. But it seems like the rest of the country are waking up to the tunes of Victoria’s favourite troubadour.

I caught up with Roper fresh from Skookum Festival’s After Dark series at the Railway Stage in Vancouver; where the venue’s lineup snaked the block.

“Vancouver can be a hard crowd for me to conjure up, so I was surprised how many people came out. It felt like a Victoria show – everyone was singing,” he said. It’s not hard to see how this magnetic performer can win over a too-cool-for-school Vancouver crowd. Charismatic and witty, Roper has a smile that can charm a room. Plus, he’s damn talented.

This October, Roper and his band hit the road with Access to Infinity, his third and most ambitious album to date. Building on the rootsy, rock ‘n’ roll downhome vibe of his previous album, Red Bird, Roper describes the album as having “an evolved sound,” a culmination of numerous influences that have lent a richer, psych-rock edge to his work.

“It was a huge learning experience, but I feel proud of what we’ve done,” said Roper, who recorded the album at the Warehouse in Vancouver with Ian Davenport (Band of Skulls, July Talk).

Spring was spent touring North America’s West Coast with seasoned road dogs Big Wreck and summer was full of festival commitments, but that hasn’t dulled Roper’s passion for the pavement. “It’s all I ever want to do!” he exclaims, “I want to be on the road and sleeping in my van, meeting new people and seeing amazing new places. I love the whole process of being on the road.”

The western leg of the tour sees Blue Heron Music stablemates Band of Rascals join, making this a rocking, raucous family affair.

Though he has a busy autumn ahead, Roper is already onto his next project. He’s back in the studio, working at Fader Mountain with famed producer Ben Kaplan (Mother Mother, Biffy Clyro) on tracks for a possible new EP.

Roper and Kaplan connected well, each recognizing one another’s vision and how it would work with the new material. “It felt so good in the studio: Ben is so in tune, Roper said. “The guitar sound is so punchy, so dirty, so raw.”

When the black-top beckons, Roper will always go; the venues will be bigger and the tours longer. At the time of writing there were tickets left for his McPherson Playhouse dates Oct. 12 and Nov. 17. Snap them up and let’s celebrate our hometown hero.

Just Posted

Jim Cuddy Band members turn trio for next Victoria show

Jan. 11 stop at the McPherson Playhouse part of the Countrywide Soul tour

Strumbellas grow their award-winning sound organically

Juno-winning band makes a rare West Coast appearance at the Royal Theatre for Jan. 9 concert

Victoria harpist releases ‘old school’ jazz album, makes singing debut

Musician ‘blown away’ by reactions to her seventh album Songs From the Harp

REVIEW: Be prepared to participate in the Belfry’s Every Brilliant Thing

Not your typical Christmas season show, but remarkable nonetheless, writes Sheila Martindale

Holiday concerts: soloists, choruses and orchestras do Christmas

Various concerts on tap for December, including multiple Messiahs

VIDEO: Led by ‘Marriage Story,’ Netflix dominates Golden Globe noms

Netflix flexed its muscles across all categories, just as it is girding for battle with a host of new streaming services

Talking about tubas! Annual concert attracts hundreds to Market Square

The 2019 edition of Tuba Christmas concert and fundraiser goes this Saturday in the square

Yellowpoint holiday spectacle returns this weekend

Musical variety show offers a wide range of genres, along with many of your seasonal favourites

Carolling in Cadboro Bay Village helps fund music at Mount Doug Secondary

Singing set for 5 to 7 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 1, in Cadboro Bay Village.

VIDEO: Celine Dion tops Billboard 200 for first time in over 17 years

‘Courage’ is Dion’s fifth album to reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200

Sooke Community Choir brings warmth to winter

This Shining Night concert features a variety of seasonal music

Most Read