The Mississippi Delta, birthplace of the Blues, has spawned generations of musicians who embrace the raw authenticity of the genre. Christone “Kingfish” Ingram’s journey began in Clarksdale, MS ten miles from the legendary crossroads of Highways 61 and 49. Born into a musical family, he fell in love with music as a small child, initially playing drums and bass.
When Kingfish received his first guitar he quickly absorbed the music of Bluesmen like Robert Johnson, Lightnin’ Hopkins, B.B.King and Muddy Waters, as well as a few contemporary artists-- Jimi Hendrix and Prince. These musicians led to Ingram creating his own sound and style of performance. He progressed quickly making his stage debut a few months later at Clarksdale’s famous Ground Zero Blues Club, playing behind one of his mentors, Mississippi Blues icon Bill “Howlin’ Madd” Perry who gifted him with a new stage name, “Kingfish.” In 2014, Ingram performed at the White House for Michelle Obama as part of a delegation of student musicians from the Delta Blues Museum. His appeal beyond the Blues was immediate.
Before cutting his debut album, and still a teenager, many of Ingram’s YouTube performance videos garnered millions of views. He performed two songs in Season Two of the Netflix show Luke Cage, after the series’ lead producer saw one of his videos. Both appear on the official soundtrack album, which introduced Ingram to a younger audience, many of whom had never heard Ingram’s brand of Blues before. Ingram has since performed an NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert, with Rap legend Rakim, who appeared in Luke Cage, and in 2020, he hosted his own Tiny Desk (Home) Concert.
Since Kingfish was released two years ago, major life events that altered Ingram’s life personally and professionally just as his career was taking off. The loss of his mother, Princess Pride Ingram, who was his biggest champion, left a void where her voice had been. In July 2020, he released his emotionally riveting song “Rock & Roll,” which is a deeply loving tribute to his mother, with the song being included on 662 as a bonus track.
Kingfish had toured for thirteen straight months before the pandemic shut down live performances, forcing him to take stock of his life and career, something reflected in the songs he began writing during the hiatus, which make up the material on 662, his current album. Ingram describes 662 as his own personal journey, a story that sits upon the legacy of his influential blues elders. His songs reflect his life in and away from his home in the Delta, speak to universal truths, as well as to similar experiences shared by his large and growing multi-generational, multi-cultural fan base. The result is a superb Blues album with a fresh new perspective on the genre as well as introducing younger fans into the diverse palette that is the Blues. With his unique blend of Blues, Rock, and Soul coupled with his smooth, velvety vocals, the tunes seduce the listener, making 662 one of the most original blues albums this year.
At radio support is strong, with WRLT, WFUV, KCSN, WMOT, WNRN, KMTN, and WTMD just a few spinning 662.
Photo by Laura Carbone