Christone “Kingfish” Ingram is a rising force in the world of blues music. The 21-year-old guitarist/singer has gone from child guitar phenom to Grammy-nominated national touring artist. Lucky for us, the Mississippi native is bringing his band to the closest thing we’ve got to a juke joint, Askew, in Providence, on Monday March 2nd.
We spoke to Ingram last week as he was preparing the second leg of his “FishGrease 2, Juke Joint Tour,” a follow up to his Grammy-nominated 2019 Alligator Records release “Kingfish.”
He just released a new tune on Valentine’s Day, “Empty Promises,” a slow blues with a riveting guitar solo. “It’s a cover of a Michael Burts song,” he explained, “we added that song to our live show, and a lot of people wanted us to record it. “
I wondered how he got the (most awesome!) nickname Kingfish.
“When I attended school at the Delta Blues Museum back home in Clarksdale, one of my mentors Bill “Howl -N- Mad” Perry used to give all the kids a nickname, kind of like a stage name, he gave me the name “Kingfish,” the name kind of just stuck,” replied Ingram.
I asked him about ways to get younger fans to better appreciate the blues genre, something he is eager to do.
“I think one of the ways is that we can sit them down and come to then with the full history of it. We can add some elements of modern music to get them involved, cause it all comes from African American culture. Then we can sit them down and show them where it came from.”
Kingfish has played with many leading blues artists along with a few outside the blues genre. They include Buddy Guy, Rakim and Tedeschi Trucks Band. He listens to a wide variety, explaining “I’m into a lot of the jazz and hip-hop guys like Kendrick Lamar and Thundercat and a few others as well.”
Of course, blues legends are certainly on his playlist.
“I’ve always been into deep raw blues like Son House and Lightning Hopkins, but for my style one of the guys I was heavily influenced by was Albert King, because I was just drawn to his attack and the heaviness that he brought to the blues. Albert King for sure.”
Kingfish has been busy with frequent touring, recording, and writing – his career trajectory is certainly going in the right direction.
“I writing a lot and looking for more people to collaborate with and making new relationships and putting new things to the table. We got some things coming with Bootsy Collins in the future, and some others in the can for the second record.
Don’t miss Kingfish Monday night March 2 at Askew. He’s touring with a trio, including Carl Rogers on bass, Chris Black on drums. But Ingram’s guitar will of course be front and center. Down the line, you’ll be able to stay “I saw him in a small club in Providence back in the day…” GA-20 opens. Complete details here.