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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

WATCH: Bedouin Soundclash opening their 2020 tour in Victoria

One of the 2000s’ biggest bands touring in support of 2019 release, MASS

Mathieu Poirier: Excitement builds for Victoria Beer Week

Tickets for March 6-14 celebration of all things crafty on sale now

The Music of Cream touring band more than a tribute act

Ginger Baker’s son Kofi, Clapton’s nephew Will joined by rock stalwarts for 50th anniversary tour

Actors asked to find a spirituality for new Belfry production

Playwright/director Tara Beagan’s The Ministry of Grace tells Indigenous tale of challenge, love

PERFECTLY POTABLE: Bold reds that make you stand up and take notice

Monday wine columnist Robert Moyes weighs in on a trio of fine reds and a yummy late harvest white

Fashion Fridays: The basics you need for your body type

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Winners announced for inaugural Victoria Arts Council/Monday poetry contest

More than 100 entries received in five categories

Canadian polar bears’ ‘ingenious’ survival seen in BBC Earth series

Film crews also go to Tofino to watch black bears snap up crabs under massive boulders

Spring author’s reading series kicks off early in Sidney

Sidney and Peninsula Literary Society hosting Yasuko Thanh and Carla Funk for Feb. 7 event

The winners of London Drugs’ 2019 Amateur Photographer of the Year contest are…

After more than 26,000 entries, the winners have been selected across Western Canada.

Most Read