An emerging young blues guitarist from Clarksdale, Mississippi, looks to the music’s future—and his own—but builds on the foundation of his heroes: from Albert and Freddie King to Jimi Hendrix and Prince.
Christone “Kingfish” Ingram plays guitar like a wolf hits a bone: hard, strong, and with a powerful sense of purpose. At 20, Ingram is still young enough to be considered a blues prodigy—especially since he’s been gigging since he was 11. But on his May 17 debut album, Kingfish, and in his live performances like the one I caught in his native Clarksdale, Mississippi’s Bluesberry Cafe in October, he separates himself from the brat pack with his ferocious tone and a dexterous style he’s fusing from a mélange of influences that includes Albert King, Freddie King, Little Milton Campbell, Hendrix, Prince, and George Benson. In particular, it’s the jazz elements in his playing—heard in single-note leads that swerve out of the pentatonic and in unexpected bursts of quick, slippery octave chords—that surprise.
That’s the kind of playing likely to help Ingram make the wish he expresses in the song we’re premiering, “Outside of This Town,” come true. The song’s an amped-up shuffle, with Ingram deriving a growling tone with his Chertoff Custom Guitars LP-style guitar, a blackface Fender Twin Reverb, and an SDG Groove Superdrive stompbox. It’s autobiographical, and a kind of first-person “Johnny B. Goode:” the story of an ambitious young man growing up in an impoverished place, yearning to see the world with his guitar as his guide.
The Kingfish album was produced by Tom Hambridge, who has been at the controls and co-written songs for Buddy Guy’s recent albums, and has produced albums by George Thorogood, Devon Allman, and Susan Tedeschi, as well as his own solo releases.
“I’ve been feeling that way for a long time now,” Ingram says. “I know a lot of folks who don’t put their foot forward in the world, and I don’t want to end up like that.” And while blues tourists who come to Clarksdale for the annual Juke Joint Festival and other musical celebrations might get the impression that the place—where Sam Cooke, John Lee Hooker, Ike Turner, Gus Cannon, Jackie Brenston, and many other iconic figures in the genre came from—is a sleepy idyll for their favorite music, it also shares the same issues as other Delta cities: crime, drugs, a lack of opportunities. “There’s not a lot to do here,” Ingram adds. “Some people maybe get tempted by the criminal life, but for me it was blues 24/7. I want to be a great man, and bring great music all around the world, because that’s what we need at this moment.”
Ingram began playing blues thanks to the educational outreach program of Clarksdale’s Delta Blues Museum, and among his mentors was local guitarist Richard “Daddy Rich” Crisman. Today, Ingram’s menu also includes rock and gospel, and he’s delving deeper into soul and R&B. Along the way, he’s honed his live gear to a variety of Peavey amps—still the preferred brand among deep South blues guitarists on a budget—and his Chertoff guitar, the Strat, and the Fender Starcaster on his album’s cover. He’s also expanded his pedal collection with an MXR Sugar Drive and a Dunlop Cry Baby Mini Wah.
Ingram should be seeing plenty of the world this spring and summer, as he opens tours for blues icon Buddy Guy and Vampire Weekend, and goes on to the festival circuit. Guy, in particular, has given Ingram a boost, taking him under wing after they shared a bill in 2012 and calling him “the next explosion of the blues.” Guy also trades licks with Ingram on “Fresh Out,” a track from Kingfish where the younger player airs some ringing sustain that recalls Albert Collins’ signature sound. And Guy’s current producer, Tom Hambridge, helmed Ingram’s debut. In a sense, that album may be a passing of a torch, but Kingfish also proves Ingram is capable of lighting his own fires.
Looking for more great gear for the guitar player in your life (yourself included!)? Check out this year's Holiday Gear Finds!
D'Addario XPND Pedalboard
DR-05X Stereo Handheld Recorder
Wampler Pedals Ratsbane
Outlaw Effects introduces their next generation of NOMAD rechargeable battery-powered pedal boards.
Available in two sizes, NOMAD ISO is a compact, versatile tool that offers the convenience of a fully powered board plus the additional freedom of not having to plug into an outlet. NOMAD ISO is ideal for stages with limited outlet availability, quick changeovers, busking outdoors, temporary rehearsal locations, and more.
NOMAD ISO builds upon the legacy of the ultra-convenient and reliable NOMAD rechargeable pedalboard line originally launched in 2018. The brand new NOMAD ISO editions feature eight isolated outputs (1 x 9V DC, and 1 switchable 9V/12V DC) for even more versatility and clean, quiet power. With an integrated lithium-ion battery pack boasting 12800mAh capacity, NOMAD ISO can fuel a wide array of pedals, and will last over 10 hours* on a single charge.
Each NOMAD ISO pedal board includes adhesive hook & loop pedal-mounting tape, eight (8) standard DC connector cables, and one (1) reverse polarity DC cable, giving you everything you need to build your ultimate "off-the-grid" rig. A rugged, road-ready padded gig bag with shoulder strap is also included, to safely protect your gear while you're on the move.
NOMAD ISO S
NOMAD ISO S: MSRP $309 / MAP: $249
Dimensions: 19 ¼" x 5 ¼"
NOMAD ISO M
NOMAD ISO M: MSRP $349 / MAP $279
Dimensions: 19 ¼" x 11"
More info: https://www.outlawguitareffects.com.
Dunable announces new Minotaur model featuring Grover Rotomatic Keystone tuners.
The Minotaur's DNA is rooted in their classic Moonflower model, which Dunable discontinued in 2017. However, they have long since wanted to create a fresh take on a carved top guitar design, and various attempts to rework the Moonflower led them to a brand new concept with the Minotuar.
Dunable's goal is to give the player a guitar that plays fast and smooth, sounds amazing, and gives maximum physical ergonomic comfort. The Minotaur's soft and meticulous contours, simple and effective control layout, and 25.5" scale length are designed to easily meet this criteria.
- 25.5" scale length
- Dual Humbucker
- one volume, one tone, push pull for coil splitting
- Grover Rotomatic Keystone tuners
- Grover Tune O Matic bridge with brass Kluson top-mount tailpiece
- jumbo nickel frets
- 12" fretboard radius
This full-amp-stack-in-a-box pedal brings a new flavor to the Guitar Legend Tone Series of pedals, Missing Link Audio’s flagship product line.
Adding to the company’s line of premium-quality effects pedals, Missing Link Audio has unleashed the new AC/Overdrive pedal. This full-amp-stack-in-a-box pedal – the only Angus & Malcom all-in-one stompbox on the market – brings a new flavor to the Guitar Legend Tone Series of pedals, Missing Link Audio’s flagship product line.
The AC/OD layout has three knobs to control Volume, Gain and Tone. That user-friendly format is perfect for quickly getting your ideal tone, and it also offers a ton of versatility. MLA’s new AC/OD absolutely nails the Angus tone from the days of “High Voltage” to "Back in Black”. You can also easily dial inMalcom with the turn of a knob. The pedal covers a broad range of sonic terrain, from boost to hot overdrive to complete tube-like saturation. The pedal is designed to leave on all the time and is very touch responsive. You can get everything from fat rhythm tones to a perfect lead tone just by using your guitar’s volume knob and your right-hand attack.
- Three knobs to control Volume, Gain and Tone
- Die-cast aluminum cases for gig-worthy durability
- Limited lifetime warranty
- True bypass on/off switch
- 9-volt DC input
- Made in the USA