Alligator Records is pleased to announce the signing of 20-year-old guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Christone “Kingfish” Ingram. This 21st century bluesman’s debut album, KINGFISH, is set for release on May 17, 2019. RollingStone.com will premiere the album track Fresh Out, a sizzling duet featuring music legend Buddy Guy. The first radio single, Outside Of This Town, will be released on April 15. Additionally, on May 16, Kingfish will showcase at WXPN-FM’s annual, influential NON-COMMvention in Philadelphia. The convention brings together public (non-commercial) radio music programmers and managers, music industry representatives, and music media from across the US. From there, Kingfish will tour, headlining his own shows and opening dates for Vampire Weekend and Buddy Guy.
Listen to Fresh Out here.
Recorded in Nashville and produced by two-time Grammy winner Tom Hambridge (Buddy Guy, Susan Tedeschi, Joe Louis Walker, George Thorogood), KINGFISH showcases Ingram’s blistering, raw and inspired guitar playing, soulful, deep vocals and memorable songwriting. He co-wrote eight of the album’s twelve 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.”
Alligator Records president Bruce Iglauer considers Kingfish a natural fit for the blues and roots label. “At the age of 20, Kingfish is one of the most exciting and passionate young artists I’ve seen in many years. He’s creating new music that feels like blues but doesn’t copy what’s already been done. His roots are firmly in the Mississippi Delta, and you can hear that raw Delta honesty in his playing and singing. His guitar work is technically dazzling, but it’s all about the emotions of the song and moving the audience. He’s perfectly capable of crowd-pleasing shredding, but his music is remarkably mature. He knows which are the important notes, the notes that tell the story and grab the audience, and he leaves out the extraneous ones. He sings with the intensity and directness of a seasoned blues artist. He venerates the blues masters of the past and present but is eagerly making his own statement, inspired by the music they created. I’m watching him become a young, visionary blues giant. He has an amazing future ahead of him, and I’m proud that he’s joined the Alligator family.”
Sprung from the same earth as so many of the Delta blues masters, Kingfish comes bursting out of Clarksdale, Mississippi, just ten 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. 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. 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.”
For more information on Christone “Kingfish” Ingram: