Introducing Christone ‘Kingfish’ Ingram at the Great American Music Hall

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Kingfish was born to play the blues. A Clarksdale, Mississippi native, this 20-year-old has the blues in his blood. After all, Mississippi is considered as the nation’s Mecca of Blues, and Christone Ingram is one of the latest additions to the state’s storied legacy. This heritage includes blues legends Sam Cook, Ike Turner, and Robert Johnson, just to name a few. But Kingfish, who only recently turned 20, doesn’t intend to live in these legends’ shadows. He intends to push the blues forward, and at the pace he’s going — having already opened for acts such as Vampire Weekend — he may just end up being the bridge that carries the blues into the new generation.

Blues artist Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, photographed by Rory Doyle.

Kingfish started playing instruments at the age of 8. He comes from a family of musicians: His mother and uncles sang for the local gospel choir, while he started with playing the drums for the church’s band. It wasn’t until the 4th grade when he was introduced to the blues. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Kingfish alludes to the moment when he took a liking to the genre. It all started after his father had shown him a documentary on Muddy Waters on CBS.

“I do think I have an old soul, that I’ve been here before,” he shares, referring to his age and unusual penchant for the blues. However, don’t mistake this as him being snobbish towards new music. He takes influence from other Mississippi natives such as rappers Rick Ross and Nate Dogg.

Blues artist Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, photographed by Rory Doyle.

It’s this reverence for the old but open-mindedness for the new that gives Kingfish all the lessons he needs to be a modern blues musician, but what about the other tools? Well, Kingfish has recently linked up with Fender to collaborate on their Vintera range. The Vintera range is Fender’s homage to the historic guitar models of yore, which include the Stratocaster, Telecaster, Jaguar, Mustang, and the Jazzmaster. When it comes to his amps, however, Kingfish likes to keep those local. Kingfish has always been a Peavey guy. Peavey, for those of you who don’t know, is Mississippi-made. The amp’s warm and clean tone leaves a lot of space for his pedals to muddy up. Kingfish’s pedal of choice is the MXR Sugar Drive. The Sugar Drive is also part of fellow guitar savant John Mayer’s rig, so Kingfish is in very good company.

Kingfish has been tearing up shows across the nation, none of which are bigger than his upcoming show at the Great American Music Hall. When Kingfish steps on that stage on September 27, 2019, he’ll be part of music history. He’ll be sharing the venue with all of those who have played the iconic stage in the past, such as Journey, Buddy Rich, and the Grateful Dead. This’ll be the biggest show of the blues prodigy’s young career, and on the heels of his debut album KINGFISH, we couldn’t imagine a better way to start one’s musical journey.

Having released albums under Digital Nations, a label founded by Steve Vai, music critic Louis Raphael has remained deeply connected to the pulse of the San Francisco music scene. Following his tenure as the San Francisco Music Examiner for and, he embarked on creating Music in SF® to authentically highlight the vibrant offerings of the city's music scene.

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