662 (the area code of his Mississippi Delta stomping grounds) is a powerful and personal album, a fiery coming-of-age record. The lyrics reflect newfound maturity and the ways in which your roots inspire where you’re heading. Musically, the record delivers a heaping helping of deep, visceral guitar magic fueling a combustible mix of molten blues rock, down home shuffles and soulful grooves. "Christone 'Kingfish' Ingram is the future of the blues, singing and playing with edge, verve and vitality. Stinging guitar...sweet and melodic vocals." —Guitar World
Christone "Kingfish" Ingram: Guitar, Vocals
Tom Hambridge: Drums, Background Vocals (1,10), Chimes (4)
Kenny Greenberg: Guitar (1,2,4,9)
Bob Britt: Guitar (3,5,7,10)
Glenn Worf: Bass (1,2,4,9)
Tommy MacDonald: Bass (3,5,6,7,8,10,11,12,13)
Marty Sammon: Piano (2,11,13), Hammond B3 Organ (6,8,9), Wurlitzer Piano (8)
Max Abrams: Saxophone (9)
Julio Diaz: Trumpet (9)
Christone "Kingfish" Ingram: Guitar, Vocals
Nick Goldston: Drums, Bass, Piano, Keyboard, Acoustic Guitar
Brooke Stephenson: Background Vocals
Produced, Mixed and Mastered by Nick Goldston
Recorded at Royal Studios, Memphis, TN
Engineered by Boo Mitchell
Produced by Tom Hambridge
Executive Produced by Ric Whitney for Curation
Recorded at Ocean Way Studios, Nashville TN
Engineered by Zach Allen
Assistant Engineer Ryan Yount
Mixed And Mastered by Tom Hambridge and Michael Saint-Leon at Switchyard Studio, Nashville TN
Additional Recording by Michael Saint-Leon at Switchyard Studio, Nashville, TN
Photos by Justin Hardiman
Design by Kevin Niemiec
Sometimes it’s hard to know what’s on a young man’s mind. Other times it’s easier to see and feel what’s in his heart and soul. The time has come for Christone "Kingfish" Ingram to let his truth be known, and he holds nothing back on 662. Following his debut album, Kingfish, Christone says about his sophomore record, "These are songs written when I got home from the road— I came back to the 662. This album is much more personal than the first one—I’m dealing with things that have been going on in my life since then."
This highly-anticipated sequel provides Kingfish ample space to bare his soul: thirteen chronicles covering a swath of topics that encompass the breadth of his musical experience. "I’m not gonna lie," he promises, and true to his nature, he delivers on his word. Stretching beyond his first outing, he co-wrote all but one song on this album, speaking clearly in his own voice this time around.
His tunes are laced with evocative, personal lyrics that simultaneously capture and radiate both the ultimate knowledge of birthright and innate sense of belonging, with autobiographical pieces like Something In The Dirt and Too Young To Remember chronicling the truth as only Kingfish can tell it. The album title is named after the telephone area code covering six counties in the northern half of Mississippi. "The code started in 1999, which was the year I was born, so I definitely feel connected to that." Christone paints vivid pictures of churches on every corner, his dad’s job at Cooper Tires, and his brother who moved to Baltimore. "Sound oozin’ from the ground, and it cuts right through; you can only find it here in the 662."
He lets us ride shotgun in the life of a weary road warrior in Long Distance Woman and That’s What You Do. Of the latter, Kingfish offers insight into the lyrics: "People only see the glamorous side, but they don’t realize that most times we don’t even get to enjoy the nice hotels, or even the sights and sounds of the city we’re playing in." Other stories embrace the triumph of hope in romance (She Calls Me Kingfish, I Got To See You) while a few chronicle the universal theme of love and loss. You’re Already Gone is self-evident, while My Bad finds Christone in a real-life drama when "in the heat of the moment you kinda say things you don’t mean."
Then there’s That’s All It Takes, which represents "my own version of the 'baby-please-come-on-home’ kinda song … the groove is like Green Onions but backwards using an inverted progression." This particular song is unique in its own way, channeling the spirit of previous soul voices: "Joe Simon, Sam Cooke—that’s what I was tapping into—besides, I got a chance to bust out some of my 'clean’ [guitar] chops!"
The vibrating heart-string, however, is Rock & Roll, an album bonus track and the epic paean dedicated to his beloved mother, Princess Latrell Pride Ingram. "A lot has happened," Christone says. "My mom passed, and it changed me; I learned to look at life and accept it for what it is, and just be happy for what you have." Still, he has soldiered on. "I’ve grown a lot as a musician, since that time—I’ve been learning a lot and trying to slowly seep into the jazz world, and even incorporate some of those elements in the blues world."
He now forges ahead with the confidence and maturity of a bandleader who not only faced the trials and tribulations of life, but also emerged stronger than before. He sings more assuredly than ever, displaying a consistency in depth and range that equally matches the powerful vibrato of his guitar that shakes, stings and stirs the soul. About his vocal prowess, he shares, "It’s gotten better; the first album, I had some experience, but I wasn’t used to singing with the full range of being able to really 'tell a story.’ I now think my singing has more depth." He is, in essence, emerging before our very ears.
Kingfish proudly represents the young tribe who are busy fulfilling their musical obligation to "get into good trouble," as the late John Lewis would have implored them. Songs like Another Life Goes By speak truth to power: they serve as indictments charged by the current generation of black artists who face racial barriers, having to endure myriad stereotypes that ultimately undermine their efforts as musicians. Add to that the seemingly relentless conditions during the dark days of the COVID-19 era (with every tour coming to a grinding halt), and suddenly you have an even greater reason to sing the blues. On Not Gonna Lie, he steadfastly remains in the throes of fulfilling his promise to none other than his mentor, Buddy Guy: "I got to keep it goin’," he intones about his responsibility to carry the torch, fanning the flames in the name of the blues.
This album stands as a confirmation of what so many already expected after his first album was unleashed: Kingfish re-emerges a formidable guitar superhero. The shadow cast from his cape looms large across the sunny skies of the deep South and beyond. As his lyrics firmly attest, he engages his six strings as his preferred choice of weapons—not only to save his own soul, but to also offer a salve for ours.
In this often unruly era of civil disobedience, chaos and disorder, and—dare I say—social and sonic decay, there is still a great deal of beauty in this world. And so Kingfish is. He is a beautiful baby, a soul brother, a man; one who has already evolved into a higher being since his first release. One who, in the absence of his mother’s loving arms, has embraced both the art of and the power in making music, used, essentially, to hug himself … and you, too.
So let the healing begin.
Wayne Goins, distinguished professor at Kansas State University, writes for Living Blues magazine and has published five books, including That’s All Right: The Jimmy Rogers Story, and is currently writing Maestro: The Taj Mahal Story.
Thanks and praises to God. Thank you to Dad for all your love, support, and of course, your "man cave." Thank you and much love to my manager and friend, Ric Whitney. As you say, "let’s do the work." Thanks to all my close family and friends for continuing to believe in me. Big thanks to my Covid writing partner and my album producer, Tom Hambridge. Hello and thanks to Ms. Shelley and the Delta Blues Museum team. Big shout out to all of the OGs who helped pave the way for me, your musical energy is in all that I do. Thank you to the Alligator Records team for all your hard work in helping me to release this project. To my friends at Fender, Ernie Ball Strings, Peavey Amps, Jim Dunlop Products, Chertoff Custom Guitars, Xotic Effects, Keeley Effects, Reunion Blues Gig Bags and Pig Hog Cables, thank you, y’all still help me sound and look good. Much love to all my fans. Many of you have been with me since I was a teen. Thank you for all the support. I hope y’all dig round #2. Lastly and certainly not least, thank you to Ma. You were always my biggest champion and cheerleader. I know that you’re looking at me with proud eyes and big heart. The bonus track on this album is all for you. "Pride beside me, here to guide me when I’m finding that I’m all alone." I miss you. I love you. Thank y’all much!
Tom Hambridge would like to thank DW Drums, Zildjian Cymbals & Regal Tip Drumsticks for their continued support. www.tomhambridge.com