Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, the head-turning 20-year-old blues guitarist and vocalist from Clarksdale, Ms., will celebrate the release of his Alligator Records debut album, Kingfish, with a live performance on Friday, Aug. 9, at 9 p.m. at Songbirds Guitar Museum. Tickets are $20 and available here.
Review for Christone "Kingfish" Ingram:
With his eye-popping guitar playing and his reach-out-and-grab-you-by-the-collar vocals, Kingfish delivers each song with unmatched passion and precision. Kingfish will be touring throughout the year, and will be opening a series of dates for Vampire Weekend later this summer.
Kingfish was produced by two-time Grammy winner Tom Hambridge (Buddy Guy, Susan Tedeschi, Joe Louis Walker, George Thorogood). The album showcases Ingram’s blistering, raw and inspired guitar playing, soulful, deep vocals and memorable songwriting. He co-wrote eight of the album’s 12 tracks. “A lot of folks know me for my covers,” he says of his many YouTube videos, some with millions of views each. “That’s why it’s important for me to release original music."
Sprung from the same earth as so many of the Delta blues masters, Kingfish comes bursting out of Clarksdale, Ms., just 10 miles from the legendary crossroads of Highways 61 and 49. A student of the Delta’s musical history, he is acutely aware of the musicians and the music that emerged from his corner of the world. “I do think I have an old soul, that I’ve been here before,” he says. “I’m moving forward with one foot in the past. You don’t see too many kids into blues music. In my town, every kid wants to be a rapper – I wanted to do something no one else was doing.” And although he grew up near the crossroads where Robert Johnson allegedly cut a deal with the devil, Kingfish insists he didn’t do any of that to make his guitar howl the blues. “I just practice all the time,” he says, “that’s the only deal I made, and it’s with myself."
Funk music superstar Bootsy Collins began sharing Kingfish’s YouTube videos online, telling his followers, “this is how a child can influence others.” Rapper The Game did the same. Christone’s appeal beyond blues was immediate. He appeared on The Rachael Ray Show as well as The Steve Harvey Show. He was cast in season two of the Netflix program Luke Cage after the series lead producer saw one of his videos. Two of his cover songs appear on the show’s soundtrack album, which immediately introduced him to a young audience. Kingfish recently performed in an NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert with rap legend Rakim, who also appeared in Luke Cage.
With the release of Kingfish, Christone “Kingfish” Ingram is ready to blaze a trail with the blues torch that’s been passed to him. Steeped in the rich, vivid history of the blues, he’s driven by his burning desire to create contemporary music that speaks to his generation and beyond. Kingfish is inspired by the music of Robert Johnson, but dreams of one day collaborating with Kendrick Lamar and soul-funk bassist Thundercat. “My core is blues,” he says, “but it’s important for me to create a sound and style that is uniquely my own. I have a lot to say, so please stay tuned.”