Carrying the Torch | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Carrying the Torch

Christone "Kingfish" Ingram is the next great blues star

After landing in St. Louis for his rooftop show at the Angad Arts Hotel, Christone Ingram was able to squeeze in a few moments of his time with the Source. While he's only 20 years old, the man people call Kingfish creates and performs like a seasoned veteran. There's a reason why outlets including Rolling Stone are calling him "the blues savior," and why he'll be opening for Vampire Weekend on their Father Of The Bride tour.

Carrying the Torch
Zan Mostow
"Kingfish" is available for streaming on Spotify and Apple Music.

His debut album, aptly titled, "Kingfish," is pure excellence. It's 12 songs of groovy, swinging blues that never stop. My personal favorite on the record is "Listen" featuring Keb'Mo'– an ultra-smooth jam that captures the warmth of love and emphasizes the importance of trusting your heart.

Read our Q&A below and check out his tunes to learn why Central Oregon is so lucky to have Kingfish at the Sisters Rhythm & Brews Festival this year.

Source Weekly: It's been a little over two months now since you put out your debut album. How's it feel to have that out and for the world to hear it?

Kingfish: Man, it's been great. I'm normally known for the covers I do, but it's great to finally have original music out and everything, and show the world what's going on in my head.

SW: What's the feedback been like at shows? Is everyone getting involved in the songs?

KF: Yeah, everyone has been enjoying it from both sides—the old blues guys to the new school. Everyone's been loving it.

SW: Taking it back, do you remember the first piece of music you heard that inspired you to jump into this world?

KF: I'm more gospel influenced, but blues and gospel– there's not that much of a difference. I heard my mom and all of her family singing and preaching in church so I was around that. I didn't get into the blues until like later– like 5, 6, 7. I got into it with my dad with him showing me a PBS documentary of Muddy Waters.

"It's great to finally have original music out and everything, and show the world what's going on in my head." —Cristone "Kingfish" Ingram

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SW: And from there you started picking up instruments?

KF: Oh yessir, yessir. After my dad showed me the Muddy Waters documentary he took me to the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale [Mississippi] and they showed him the arts and education program, and the room with all the instruments. He enrolled me in the program and I started playing bass and guitar and that was it.

SW: What's it been like getting to work so closely with Buddy Guy?

KF: Man, it was great! Just to be around all of that wisdom and learn things from him on stage and learn things about the business—it was great.

SW: You're also going to go out on tour with Vampire Weekend in August. Are you excited for that?

KF: Yeah man, yeah man. It's going to be a whole different scenery. I can't wait to see that!

SW: I've been reading some articles about you and many people are calling you the torch carrier for the future of blues. Does that add pressure to what you're doing or does it make you excited for the future?

KF: Honestly, both. I just try to not think about it and just do my part, you know? [Laughs].

Sisters Rhythm & Brews Festival
Fri., July 26-Sat., July 27
Village Green Park
335 S. Elm St., Sisters
Prices vary

Isaac Biehl

Isaac is living proof that "Iowa Nice" is actually a thing. A journalism graduate from Iowa State University, he regularly writes about music, the outdoors and the arts/culture scene. Isaac loves the Trail Blazers, backpacking and a good IPA. He plans to one day win Survivor. Your move, Jeff Probst...
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