Back in the Saddle
B.C.’s blues-rock powerhouse Jesse Roper hits Cranbrook December 1
by Ferdy Belland
“The band’s playing awesome, everybody’s getting along awesome on the road, so every day is an awesome day because we’re just having a blast! We’re sharing tons of laughs. And the shows are on fire – we’re playing really good! It’s the best we’ve ever played as a band. Some of the shows have been sold out tight, and after every show people just swarm up to us all happy and just fill our egos right out. Everyone’s very pleased – so we are too!
“The entire tour has been an absolute joy, and I’m so happy to be back on the road…especially after having not done it for a few years, thanks to the bloody pandemic. Back in the saddle again – I’m grinning from ear to ear!”
And now the good folks of the music-loving East Kootenay can grin ear-to-ear themselves at the Cranbrook Hotel Pub (719 Baker Street) on Thursday, December 1 as Jesse Roper and his band take the stage for their debut East Kootenay performance.
“I got absolutely mugged when I got offstage in Toronto,” said Roper. “People were just over the moon! I’ve never had that be the case before, at least outside of my hometown of Victoria. We played another sold-out show in Halifax and people were just thrilled. Every show I’ve had people come up and say ‘Holy Shit! Fucking AWESOME!‘ – but my favorite show of the tour so far was in Hamilton, if only because the sound quality was so good. The stage sound was incredible. Not what I usually expect playing in bars!
“We were able to pull off a pretty tight show because all of us onstage could actually hear ourselves! And everyone’s attitudes after the set was done reflected just how much they enjoyed it. I could go on and on about what people have been saying, but all in all: the vibes have been high!”
For almost 15 years, Jesse Roper’s vibes have been running high, indeed; as a shy young blues-rocking prodigy, his talents were mostly kept to himself due to performance anxiety until he burst out of his shell megaton-style in his mid-‘20s.
From his earliest gigs, Roper stunned unsuspecting audiences (hipster and oldster alike) with his furious command of the electric guitar, his booming voice, and his wild stage presence. He quickly made himself the ‘One To Watch’ in the bustling West Coast scene, and it wasn’t long before he was cherry-picked for broader exposure in the exciting summer-festival circuit.
So far, Roper has shared stages with Keith Urban, Lee Brice, Colin James, Tower of Power, Spirit of the West, and Beth Hart, among others.
His latest album Horizons was released earlier this year to great national acclaim, and as mentioned, his current trans-Canada tour supporting the album has been met with capacity audiences and delirious reaction. But Roper is always looking to the horizon.
“At the moment I don’t really have a lot set in stone as far as 2023 plans go,” he said. “But that needs to change! I’d like another national tour in the spring to follow up this one…we’ve never had follow-up tours before! It feels like we’re building so much momentum. And I’m blessed to have such a killer group of musicians working live onstage with me, and they’re all gung-ho and enthusiastic to keep the wave rolling. I haven’t played Vancouver in forever, and that needs to be done. When I look at my rising numbers on Spotify, my highest-played place in the world is Vancouver… and I’m not playing there? That needs to change!”
As with most performing artists rising out of the pandemic shadows and re-emerging to where they once belonged, Jesse Roper’s ambitions and emotional mission statement remain brighter and stronger than ever before.
“I believe 2023’s going to present a lot of excitement and difference, and our band will make that happen in a large way. This tour has been amazing for solidifying the core group of us, and we’re all on the same page, saying we need to push this harder. We need to be on the road a ton and stay on the road a ton, just kicking ass and enjoying life.”
Roper and his road-warrior bandmates are pleased to add their Cranbrook stop in between their performances in Lethbridge and Rossland.
“I’m hoping for a good turnout in your fair Key City,” said Roper. “We need some people to rock for, and we need some people to dance up a storm for us. I’m doing a whole bunch of new things – half new stuff, half old stuff…but it’ll all be new to you guys! For the guitar rockers out there, there’s some hair-shaking stuff. It’s a good mix of music. It’s like Jesse Roper Radio: we’re not running in a straight line onstage. And by the time we get to the Pub we’ll be tighter than a patent leather shoe.
“I know you don’t know me, Cranbrook – but I’d like to get to know YOU!”
Check out Jesse Roper Band’s ‘Hold on Me.’
The Jesse Roper Band performs Thursday, December 1 (showtime 8:30 p.m.) at the Cranbrook Hotel Pub (719 Baker Street).
Admission: $10 advance (tickets available at the Pub during regular business hours), $15 door. Bring your dancing shoes, a positive attitude, and five friends each.