Over the course of blues history, there are a small number of live albums that have stood the test of time to become classics of the genre - Muddy Waters' At Newport 1960, B.B. King's Live in Cook County Jail and Albert King's Live Wire/Blues Power are among these deeply rooted, highly emotional and truly iconic recordings. And now comes Live In London, the jaw-dropping third album from GRAMMY Award-winning, 24-year-old Christone "Kingfish" Ingram. Recorded on June 6, 2023, in front of a sweaty, sold-out, standing room only crowd at the famous UK club, The Garage, Live In London is the guitar-driven live album Kingfish's fans around the world have been clamoring for since they first watched him perform as a teenager on YouTube.
Soul-stirring, spontaneous and steeped with energy and excitement, Live In London finds the internationally recognized guitar prodigy and vocalist performing 17 songs, with tracks including material from his two studio albums (2019's GRAMMY-nominated debut, Kingfish, and 2021's GRAMMY Award-winning 662). Live In London also includes two new potent, original songs, Midnight Heat and Mississippi Night, as well as a blistering version of Michael "Iron Man" Burks' Empty Promises. Singing with the deepest soul feeling and playing guitar with searing, organic intensity, Kingfish immediately captivates fans via his explosive set opener, She Calls Me Kingfish. From the reworked, funk-inspired Hard Times to the tender tribute to his late mother, Rock & Roll, to the electric encore Long Distance Woman, Live In London takes the listener on an unforgettable, exhilarating ride.
Throughout the concert, Kingfish's command over his instrument is awe-inspiring. He remains in the moment, at times raining down incendiary solos, other times picking poignant, blues-drenched licks, but always playing deeply from his heart. Along with his versatile, tight-knit band – bassist Paul Rogers, drummer Christopher Black and keyboardist Deshawn Alexander – he brings intensity and honesty to each song, moving the audience from hushed disbelief to spontaneous, extended ovations. Guitar World, describing a recent live Kingfish performance, declared, "Ingram sets the bar terrifyingly high, all but setting the fretboard ablaze with nimble but tasteful runs that impress while never losing sight of the song."
"This album is a short lifetime in the making," says Kingfish. "I've long had an interest in recording a live album and I finally felt the timing was right. Not only do I have a deeper catalog of music to choose from, but I also have been extensively touring with my band. Both of which truly made recording a live album smooth. Sprinkle in the opportunity to perform in a city I love, it's all no-brainer and something that makes me deeply proud."
In the four short years since the release of his self-titled debut album, Kingfish, Ingram has taken the music world by storm. From his hometown of Clarksdale, Mississippi to stages around the globe, the young blues star has already headlined multiple U.S. and European tours, and amazed fans in Australia, New Zealand, and India. Selected in summer 2022 to open for The Rolling Stones in London's Hyde Park, Kingfish has also performed and toured with friends including Vampire Weekend, Jason Isbell, Steve Miller and Buddy Guy, a mentor of his, with whom he appeared on Austin City Limits.
Major media has also continued to celebrate Kingfish's story. In July 2021, NPR's Morning Edition featured him in a seven-minute story broadcast to its 14 million listeners. In April 2022, Kingfish made his national television debut on CBS Saturday Morning, performing three songs as well as being featured in an in-depth interview segment. In July 2022, The Washington Post Magazine ran a 5000-word feature on the young musician, calling him "a generational talent." He's appeared on magazine covers including Guitar World, Guitar Player, DownBeat, Living Blues and Blues Music Magazine.
Upon its release in 2019, Kingfish debuted on the Billboard Blues Chart in the #1 position and remained on the chart for an astonishing 91 weeks. In addition to receiving a GRAMMY Award nomination, Kingfish was named the #1 Best Blues Album of The Year by UK tastemaker magazine MOJO. Ingram's lead single, Fresh Out (featuring Buddy Guy) was the most played song on SiriusXM's highly regarded Bluesville channel. Kingfish was also #1 on Living Blues magazine's Top 50 Albums of The Year Radio Chart. The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Guitar World, and many other publications shared the joy of their musical discovery with their readers. Kingfish was even interviewed by Sir Elton John for his Apple Music Rocketman podcast.
As soon as Ingram's sophomore release, 662, dropped in July 2021, fans, critics, and radio stations showered the album with praise. Like Kingfish, it debuted at #1 on the Billboard Blues Chart. Ingram appeared on NPR's World Café and Mountain Stage, and the album's title track became a "Top Tune" for trendsetting radio station KCRW (Los Angeles). MOJO selected 662 as the Best Blues Album of The Year, while NPR Music said Ingram's playing is "astounding…it's almost like he's singing through the guitar."
662, won the GRAMMY Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album, won the Blues Music Award for Best Blues Album, and topped both the DownBeat Critics' Poll and the Living Blues Critics' Poll. Since his 2019 debut, Kingfish has been nominated for a total of 10 Blues Music Awards and has won them all. He's also won 11 Living Blues Awards. In 2022, Ingram enlisted indie rapper Big K.R.I.T. for an imaginative and moving remix of his track Another Life Goes By (Mississippi Mix). Ingram's original song and accompanying video candidly explore systemic racism, and what it means to grow up Black in America.
Ingram's journey began in the city of Clarksdale, in Coahoma County, Mississippi, just 10 miles from the legendary crossroads of Highways 61 and 49. Born to a family of singers and musicians, he fell in love with music as a child, initially playing drums and then bass. At a young age, he got his first guitar and quickly soaked up music from Robert Johnson to Lightnin' Hopkins, from B.B. King to Muddy Waters, from Jimi Hendrix to Prince. Through classes at the Delta Blues Museum, he learned the history of the blues and the basics of how to play them. Under the tutelage of Richard "Daddy Rich" Crisman and the late Bill "Howl-N-Madd" Perry, he not only developed his own playing sound and style, but also earned his "Kingfish" moniker, courtesy of Mr. Perry. From the classrooms of the Delta Blues Museum, Kingfish progressed quickly as a musician, playing Clarksdale's famous Ground Zero Blues Club and Red's Lounge stages before beginning to travel the U.S., and abroad, all while still in high school. The young guitarist performed at the White House for First Lady Michelle Obama as part of a delegation of student musicians from the Delta Blues Museum. By age 16, he was turning heads and winning awards, including the 2015 Rising Star Award, presented by The Rhythm & Blues Foundation.
Ingram's appeal beyond blues was immediate. Even before he cut his debut album and while still a teenager, he garnered millions of views of his YouTube live videos. He performed two songs in Season Two of the Netflix show Luke Cage, after the series' lead producer saw one of his videos. The success of Luke Cage led Ingram to perform on an NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert with rap legend Rakim. In 2020, Ingram was invited back to headline his own Tiny Desk Concert.
Sparked by his non-stop touring, writing and recording schedule, Kingfish's natural talent just keeps growing. With his jaw-dropping guitar playing and his reach-out-and-grab-you-by-the-collar vocals, he performs every song with unmatched passion and precision. With both Kingfish and 662, Christone "Kingfish" Ingram delivered contemporary blues music that spoke to his generation and beyond, bringing to bear the full healing and hopeful power of the blues. Now, Live In London captures Kingfish's lightning in a bottle. It's an onstage snapshot of the young singer, songwriter and guitarist creating musical magic in real time, leaving his listeners spellbound and always wanting more.
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