Christone “Kingfish” Ingram: 662
Christone “Kingfish” Ingram is the answer to the question “What’s happening with the blues?” At only 22, he’s already attracted attention from big-name rock and R&B artists (Elton John is a fan), and from major media outlets—all of it, thus far, generated on the strength of one album, Kingfish, the guitarist/vocalist’s 2019 Alligator debut. Blues fans have rightly been wondering if that sizzler was a fluke or if Ingram has staying power, and this sophomore effort makes it clear: This guy’s got the goods. 662—which is named after the area code of the Mississippi Delta region where Ingram was born—is a tougher, richer and more intimate set of songs, most co-written by Ingram and producer Tom Hambridge, who also served as the album’s drummer. It kicks off with the blistering, autobiographical title track (“There’s a sound coming from the ground, it cuts right through/ You can only find it down in the 662,” Ingram sings), before the singer moves on to other pertinent topics: one of the more potent tracks is the soulful “Another Life Goes By,” which addresses with characteristic frankness the pervasive hate and racism so rampant today. And while most of 662’s songs deal with tropes endemic to blues since there’s been blues—titles like “You’re Already Gone” and “My Bad” telegraph their storylines—Ingram returns more than once to the cultural landscape of the 662 region, in narrative tunes like “Too Young to Remember” and “Something in the Dirt,” the latter recalling Ingram’s own road to this music. Even if he never sang a word though, 662 would be a keeper—Ingram’s lyrical guitar work and the band’s crisp, supportive accompaniment is consistently impressive throughout. Keep an eye on this guy if you’ve been craving a truly new voice in blues music.