Nelson musician Jesse Lee recently returned from a tour with Shane Koyczan. Their latest collaboration Debris is out September 23.

The many talents of Jesse Lee

Kootenay musician currently has 9 creative projects on the go, new collaboration with Shane Koyczan comes out on September 23.

Nelson musician Jesse Lee recently crash-landed back in the Kootenays after an exhausting tour down the west coast with spoken word artist Shane Koyczan—his new album Debris comes out on September 23—but it’s unlikely Lee will be getting much time to rest now that he’s home.

The multi-talented musician, named artist of the year at the Kootenay Music Awards earlier this year, has no fewer than 9 creative projects on the go and a variety of recurring gigs at venues around town.

And that’s exactly how he likes it.

“I don’t want to saturate this small market by being similar every time I perform,” Lee told the Star. “Having all these different acts allows me to play more without people getting tired of it.”

That means on top of playing classical guitar and jazz at the Hume Hotel’s Library Lounge, Lee’s also a member of the bands Brian Rosen & the Whatnow, the Handsome Liars and Dirt Floor.

Lee (second from left) with Brian Rosen & the WhatNow.

Then there’s his own band, Lint, and his DJ incarnation Rafferty Funksmith. On top of that he plays as a member of Nelson cultural ambassador Bessie Wapp’s quartet and routinely shares the stage with Clinton Swanson.

And though most musicians would be hard-pressed to stay on top of so many projects, Lee said it’s what keeps things fresh.

“Being a DJ, I basically have to play all the roles of the different instruments in the band. I’m responsible for all the music, unlike when I play classical guitar or as a bass player, when I’m responsible for a specific part of the entire sound. Being a DJ helped me to grasp that difference, explore that.”

But the end result is the same: “My sets have been known to cause dancing,” Lee said, with a laugh.

Lee (second from left) with Shane Koyczan and the Short Story Long.

Being onstage with Koyczan is unique, Lee said, because of the raw subject matter being shared and the commanding power of the poet’s presence. Lee plays with Maiya Robbie, Glenna Garramone and Jordie Robinson as the Short Story Long, a collaboration that’s been going on since 2006 and resulted in the viral video “To This Day”, which racked up over 16 million views on YouTube.

“There’s a click, creatively,” Lee said. “The band comes up with the music and Shane definitely steers it, but he’s not a musician. So sometimes we’ll write to a piece he’s already come up with, and sometimes one of us will come up with some music and he’ll write to it.”

During their tour, Lee was thrilled by his time onstage.

“Shane’s live shows are amazing. He’s a very powerful performer so he’s able to reach audiences really deeply. He’ll go deep, and he’ll go dark, then he lifts you back out of it. He’s got a really deft hand with that stuff. He takes audiences exactly where he wants them to go.”

“Playing live with him is satisfying because the shows are so well-received. Shane gets a response from people in a totally different way.”

The new album, Debris, is about brokenness.

“There’s one of Shane’s lines, ‘if your heart is broken make art with the pieces’—I love that. So there’s a lot of metaphors in there about broken pieces of stuff, junk, debris, and it’s about finding value in what might otherwise be seen as junk.”

Now that the project’s completed—they originally recorded it last summer—Lee is preparing for a multitude of local performances. And that’s something he doesn’t take for granted.

“I feel tons of gratitude that I’m able to play this much in Nelson. This is such a supportive community.”

For more information visit Jesse Lee – Musician on Facebook. To order a copy of Debris, visit shanekoyczan.com.

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

Just Posted

Province looking at steps to dissolve Jumbo resort municipality

Disincorporating municipality will likely require a legislative change, according to the province

New playground, dock in Nelson receive Columbia Basin Trust funding

Projects in Slocan, Winlaw and Taghum also received grants

RCMP still investigating body found between Nelson, Castlegar

Halimi’s body was found between Nelson and Castlegar in May 2018

Security video captures Castlegar porch pirate

Man stole package from front of house in December

Rachel DeShon and Atlantic String Machine perform Saturday at United Church

DeShon moved to Nelson a few years ago. She has toured throughout the U.S. and internationally

Four things ‘not’ to do if you run into Prince Harry and Meghan in B.C.

Here is a list of some things you definitely should NOT do, according to the BBC

Manitoba RCMP spent less than $800K on massive manhunt for Port Alberni men

Manitoba RCMP helped with 17-day search through the province’s northern terrain

Man killed by police in Lytton called 911, asking to be shot: RCMP

Howard Schantz, also known as Barry Schantz was killed following a standoff at his Lytton home

Canadian public health agencies ramping up preparations in response to new virus

Health officials have said there are no confirmed cases of the emerging coronavirus in Canada

‘Naughty boy’: Monty Python star Terry Jones dies at 77

The comedian has been suffering from a rare form of dementia

Theo the 800-pound pig trimmed down and still looking for love on Vancouver Island

“He’s doing really well, lost quite a few pounds and can run now.”

Dog reunited with Tofino owner, months after being taken from beach

Shannon Boothman ‘ecstatic’ at pet’s return after a tip leads to social media search

B.C.’s first ride-hailing app to launch in Tofino, Whistler in February

The Whistle! app will be available in Tofino on Feb.1 and in Whistler Feb. 6.

Councillor resigns in Revelstoke after colleagues approved 67% raise

Council approved a 134 per cent raise for the mayor of Revelstoke

Most Read