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Innes Sibun - Down in the Engine Room

Issue #44

From here onward, Innes has enjoyed a fantastic career, releasing solo albums, supporting many Blues legends and working with many incredible players such as Walter Trout.
Sam Bell

Innes Sibun has toured the US, South America and Europe with Robert Plant, opened for Peter Green, Roger Chapman and Chris Farlowe, run his own band and now features on the Mike Vernon produced hit album 'A Force of Nature' from the Blues phenomenon, singer Sari Schorr. How long before Innes Sibun is a household name among Blues guitarists? Sam Bell played host when Innes visited the Guitar Interactive studio.

The great Blues singer Sari Schorr has a new album and a new band. The band is called The Engine Room and Innes Sibun is her resident guitarist. The album is called A Force Of Nature and apart from the fact that it features guest guitar work from Walter Trout and Ollie Brown as well as from Innes, it has a major claim to fame in that it has been produced by the legendary Blues producer, Mike Vernon, whose work with John Mayall, Eric Clapton, Peter Green and Fleetwood Mac really needs no introduction at all!

To mark the release of the fine new album, Innes offered to visit GI's London studio and I was asked to play host. After a hefty journey around London's infamous M25 motorway to our studios, Innes and I managed to arrive on time (no small achievement) and quickly got down to filming. From the get go Innes has to be one of the most lovely guys I have ever had the pleasure of chatting to. Before the interview had even started we were talking at length about all things guitar and music. We were jamming away, sharing licks and having a great laugh. It was very apparent that Innes has a monumental passion for guitar playing and learning new things. Within our jams I picked up many things from his playing, if only I could keep up!


Normally when I interview another player we aim to go from jamming into an introduction then into the interview, but conversation and jamming with Innes is almost seamless and we dived straight into his beginnings as a guitarist. He mentions hearing B.B King at an early age and that being a key moment that sparked him to pick up a guitar. He would spend many evenings whilst his parents were in bed, with the vinyl player unplugged from the speakers so he could pick up various licks from his favourite early Blues players. He would continue to have a thirst for learning, teaching himself from recordings of players from many different styles. In fact Wes Montgomery and Joe Pass also have a big influence on his playing, and you can hear this in Innes’s Jazzy altered lines and diminished substitutions in his Blues playing.

We moved from discussing his starting out to talk about his early career with his first band ‘The Blues Explosion’ where he spoke at length about the influence producer Mike Vernon had on him, Mike has worked with many if not most of the best British Blues bands and players in his time and it's clear Innes holds him in the highest regard. We moved on to talk about his invitation to join Robert Plant's band for the 1993 Fate Of Nations project, which saw him tour Europe, the USA and South America. One thing I noticed about Innes was how modest and humble he is, never really talking up his playing, always focusing on what he learns and enjoys from each experience. He spoke fondly about this experience, mentioning hairs standing up on the back of his neck when he was on stage with Robert for the first time and hearing Mr Plant singing songs that had influenced Innes in his early guitar playing days.

From here onward, Innes has enjoyed a fantastic career, releasing solo albums, supporting many Blues legends and working with many incredible players such as Walter Trout. Which leads us to this latest album with Blues singer Sari Schorr and The Engine Room. A Force Of Nature it's called and it features some stellar playing and singing – so do check it out!

Something I found particularly inspiring was the way Innes talked about learning the guitar and constantly trying to find new ideas, whether it be from a new album he is listening to, or even from television adverts. He is always practising and playing, his love for guitar is strong and his passion comes through in his playing.

Check out the live performances Innes kindly recorded for us and whatever you do, don't miss the new album.

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