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Jesse Roper approaches his profession the same way he would make a mixtape. With barriers down and volume up. “For two weeks I’ll play hardcore blues, and then another two weeks in a row I’ll play classical, and then another two weeks all I want to do is play reggae,” Roper said, a mischievous smile crossing his face. “I’ll try anything.”
The B.C. singer-songwriter’s innate and impressive musical talent has served him well in recent years. It has given the flexibility to play with soul icon Booker T. Jones, rock veteran Colin James, and blues belter Beth Hart, Canadian legend Burton Cummings, then turn around and headline nightclubs and festivals to younger audiences, and look perfectly comfortable in each scenario. Adventuresome doesn’t properly describe Roper as an artist, because when the guitar-wielding dynamo sets out to accomplish something, there’s no telling where his mind will wander, or when his energy will go.
The stage is where Roper shines. It has been his home since overcoming crippling stage fright during his early twenties. Fear is a part of Roper’s past that barely seems real today - especially when you see the in-concert image of a six-string soldier, hair matted to his face, tearing up the stage, without a hint of second-guessing.
“I will be playing guitar for the rest of my life,” he said. “Whether I get paid to do it or not.”