Less than two months before releasing his new album, Victoria’s Jesse Roper will give Ladysmith music fans a bit of a preview when he performs the second Concerts in the Park performance of the season Sunday, July 6.
Roper, who performs solo and with his band, The Roper Show, expects he’ll most likely release his new album, Red Bird, Aug. 23.
Compared to last year’s debut full-length, Son of John, Roper says this album is the same style, but he thinks the album itself is a little bit more cohesive.
“I feel it’s a much stronger album than the last one,” he said. “I’m really proud of it.”
Roper, who was raised in Metchosin, started playing guitar when he was six.
“I saw my dad doing it all the time and decided I wanted to give it a try,” he said. “I was hooked instantly; it took no time. I found I had a bit of an ear for music, so I could pick it up. My parents were very supportive. I’m so glad I picked it up when I did because it’s easier to pick it up as a young kid.”
While Roper took to playing instantly, it took him much longer to get up on stage. For the longest time, he was too nervous to perform in front of people, but a good friend of his forced him on stage at an open mic one day, and although he was terrified, he played. And the audience cheered louder with every song.
Roper says he still gets nervous before going on stage.
“Really, I just found the more I practised and felt confident in what I had before going on stage, the easier it got,” he said. “The less I think about being good and more about having fun seems to help too.”
He says it has started getting trickier these days because he feels more pressure to be good as the crowds get bigger and he gets more attention, and he’s gone back to worrying about being good.
Roper has been on the road for most of the past three years. And he says that’s exactly how he likes it.
“If I didn’t ever have to come home, I’d be a perfectly happy guy,” he said. “I would prefer to be on the road 300 days a year and making music. I love meeting new people, I like struggling a bit and travelling. Mostly, I just love playing music. The more that can take me around the world and the country, the happier a guy I am.”
Roper, whose live show has been described as engaging and full of energy, has been compared to Colin James and Stevie Ray Vaughn, and his music is described as “rock with a foundation in roots, blues and country.”
Roper will be playing solo when he comes to Ladysmith.
“I like to keep the energy pretty high and like to enjoy myself and hope people enjoy it too,” he said. “I like the chance to play for people.”
Roper will perform at Concerts in the Park at the Transfer Beach Amphitheatre Sunday, July 6 from 6-8 p.m., weather permitting. Admission is by donation, and the money raised helps the Ladysmith Resources Centre Association offer programs for families in our community free of charge.