2019 – Alligator RecordsBy Phillip Smith; May 25, 2019
I first heard of Christone “Kingfish” Ingram a couple of years ago, while watching a YouTube video. I remember being amazed at his guitar prowess and being enamored by the sheer depth he plunged himself into the Blues. Earlier this month, I was fortunate to have witnessed a live performance of this Clarksdale, Mississippi blues prodigy at Beale Street Music Festival in Memphis, Tennessee. It was indeed a rare treat for this blues music loving soul.
Ingram’s debut album, simply titled Kingfish, has finally been released, and I’m absolutely loving it. Produced and co-written by two-time Grammy winner Tom Hambridge, the album features notable guest performances from Buddy Guy, Keb’ Mo’, and Billy Branch. With Kingfish holding court on vocals and guitar, and Hambridge behind the drums, the band is comprised of guitarist Rob McNelley, bassist Tommy MacDonald, and Marty Sammon on B3 organ/piano.
From the beginning, I was hooked by the dynamic groove of “Outside of This Town”. Kingfish’s fearless delivery and robust vocals stand tall in the saddle. Buddy Guy who has stated “Kingfish is the next explosion of blues.”, appears with Keb’ Mo’ on the delightful gem of a tune “Fresh Out”. This track about being down and out has a cool vintage quality about it. Sammon’s piano accompaniment is terrific. “Before I’m Old” is another great song. It is funky, soulful, and topped with more searing guitar. Keb’ on this one too, as well as three other smoking tracks. One of which is “If You Love Me”. With Billy Branch on harp and Chris Black on drums, it’s a downright jamboree.
One of my absolute favorites on the album is, “Been Here Before”. Kingfish plays this amazingly-reflective song on acoustic guitar and sings it with heart. I remember being wowed and captivated by his performance of this song at Beale Street Music Festival. It really stuck with me.
Kingfish is one of those albums, every blues fan will want in their collection. It’s that damn good.For more information about the artist, visit this website.. www.christonekingfishingram.com
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