By Martie Thompson
Local teenager Evan Sinclaire is a talented musician who can play lead guitar at a professional level in almost any genre with an affinity for improvisation. He currently plays with a jazz/funk band called SPOT. They have an album being released on April 9 and on the same day will be headlining at 1904 Music Hall in Jacksonville. Born and raised in Fruit Cove, he attended Julington Creek Elementary School before being homeschooled starting in fourth grade. He graduated from high school in 2021 and is working full time on his music career. In his spare time, he enjoys playing video games, practicing his guitar and working on writing original songs.
Q: How old were you when you started playing the guitar?
A: When I was about 10 years old, I used to watch concerts on Netflix and pretend to be the guitarist, so my parents got me a real guitar. For the first couple of years, I was self taught, using online videos. When I was 12, I started studying under Shawn Pfaffman. With him, I developed my natural ear and music theory. He also taught me how to play with a band.
Q: What bands have you played in?
A: I started by playing in bands that Shawn had formed. In 2015 I played bass as a member of Tone Revival, an alternative rock band, at the Jacksonville Public Library Battle of the Bands, which we won. We played a lot of originals and some covers. Then in 2016, I played guitar with Allie and the Kats, a blues/rock band that I helped form. Again we won the Jacksonville Public Library Battle of the Bands. In 2017, we represented Jacksonville at the International Blues Festival in Memphis.
At this point, I really wanted to play with a progressive metal band, so I joined Haxprocess for about two years. Now I’m part of SPOT, a trio with Shawn Pfaffman on organ and Paul Griffin on drums. We play a fusion of jazz and funk that we call “junk.”
Q: How do you feel about your upcoming album being released?
A: It’s pretty cool because it’s not often I get to record and refine my own music. I love improvisation, but when you get to refine the music to get it just how you want it, it’s very satisfying.
Q: What are your future plans?
A: My focus is on music. I want to make a career out of it. I like playing jazz/funk, but I also hope to create a progressive metal band and play with that. Shawn has really helped me learn how to play a lot of different styles and I like playing them all.
Q: Who would you consider to be your musical influences?
A: I would say Eric Johnson for guitar playing. For bands, I would say Dream Feeder, Opeth, Led Zeppelin, Rush, and Steely Dan. We always listened to music at home when I was growing up and so I came to consider these bands as my influences.
[Editor’s Note: Visit evansinclaire.com for more information about Evan Sinclaire.]
Photo courtesy Erik Mayo