Roadhouse album review: Christone “Kingfish” Ingram dials up a personal connection with the blues in “662”

Christone “Kingfish” Ingram“662” (Alligator Records, July 23)

This is just the second album by the “Kingfish,” Christone Ingram, but that’s okay; he just turned 22 earlier this year. It’s also okay because it’s full of great music — hard-driving blues wrapped in a polished production overflowing with personal lyrics, stinging guitar and Kingfish himself.

The album title, “662” is area code for six counties in northern Mississippi. As Kingfish explains: “The code started in 1999, which was the year I was born, so I definitely feel connected to that.”

And as he explains in the title track lyrics — “Sound oozin’ from the ground, and it cuts right through; you can only find it here in the 662.”

That sound also oozes from the fertile blues that Ingram creates here — only one of the 14 cuts does not list him as writer or co-writer. That means you’re getting a view of the blues filtered though Ingram’s personal experiences, as a Clarksdale native who grew up in the 662.

We also can’t ignore Ingram’s co-writer and album producer here — Tom Hambridge, the award-winning singer, songwriter and producer whose name seems to turn up every few minutes when great, rootsy, bluesy, Americana music is mentioned.

This album kicks of with the title track, a rocking ode to his birthplace, and rolls along into the “mighty, mighty river” of “She Calls Me Kingfish,” a blues ode to lost love, with a crackling guitar solo that Ingram rolls out with his usual relentless energy. Both are album standouts. “Another Life Goes By” and “You’re Already Gone” are almost painfully poignant and gentle. “That’s All It Takes” is as fine a piece of soulful blues as you’ll find in our post-real-honest-to-goodness-soul-music world. “Your Time Is Gonna Come” is a torchy blues with a sinuous guitar solo that not-quite-gently weeps for us all.

There are more songs, of course, eminently listenable, including the touching bonus track “Rock & Roll,” a tribute to his late mother, Princess Latrell Pride Ingram. “My mom passed, and it changed me;” he says. “I learned to look at life and accept it for what it is, and just be happy for what you have …. 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.” This album is a testament that musical growth.

In addition to his articulate guitar work, Ingram’s vocals are always on track. He has a deep, rich voice that adds depth and passion to all his songs. This is contemporary and rootsy music brought together in a blues framework that makes for powerful listening.

Here’s a video of the title track, “662”

Track list and credits

1. 662
(Tom Hambridge & Christone Ingram, Tom Hambridge Tunes, ASCAP/Christone Ingram for Sound Sculpture, BMI)
2. She Calls Me Kingfish
(Tom Hambridge & Richard Fleming, Tom Hambridge Tunes, ASCAP/Richard Fleming Music, BMI)
3. Long Distance Woman
(Tom Hambridge & Christone Ingram, Tom Hambridge Tunes, ASCAP/Christone Ingram for Sound Sculpture, BMI)
4. Another Life Goes By
(Tom Hambridge & Christone Ingram, Tom Hambridge Tunes, ASCAP/Christone Ingram for Sound Sculpture, BMI)
5. Not Gonna Lie
(Tom Hambridge, Christone Ingram & Richard Fleming, Tom Hambridge Tunes, ASCAP/Christone Ingram for Sound Sculpture, BMI/Richard Fleming Music, BMI)
6. Too Young To Remember
(Tom Hambridge, Christone Ingram & Richard Fleming, Tom Hambridge Tunes, ASCAP/Christone Ingram for Sound Sculpture, BMI/Richard Fleming Music, BMI)
7. You’re Already Gone
(Tom Hambridge & Christone Ingram, Tom Hambridge Tunes, ASCAP/Christone Ingram for Sound Sculpture, BMI)
8. My Bad
(Tom Hambridge, Christone Ingram & Richard Fleming, Tom Hambridge Tunes, ASCAP/Christone Ingram for Sound Sculpture, BMI/Richard Fleming Music, BMI)
9. That’s All It Takes
(Tom Hambridge & Christone Ingram, Tom Hambridge Tunes, ASCAP/Christone Ingram for Sound Sculpture, BMI)
10. I Got To See You
(Tom Hambridge, Christone Ingram & Richard Fleming, Tom Hambridge Tunes, ASCAP/Christone Ingram for Sound Sculpture, BMI/Richard Fleming Music, BMI)
11. Your Time Is Gonna Come(Tom Hambridge & Christone Ingram, Tom Hambridge Tunes, ASCAP/Christone Ingram for Sound Sculpture, BMI)
12. That’s What You Do
(Tom Hambridge & Christone Ingram, Tom Hambridge Tunes, ASCAP/Christone Ingram for Sound Sculpture, BMI)
13. Something In The Dirt
(Tom Hambridge, Christone Ingram & Richard Fleming, Tom Hambridge Tunes, ASCAP/Christone Ingram for Sound Sculpture, BMI/Richard Fleming Music, BMI)
14. Rock & Roll (bonus track)
(Christone Ingram, Ashley Ray & Sean McConnell, Christone Ingram for Sound Sculpture/BMG Platinum Songs obo Smashtwang Publ./Silent Desert Music admin. by Razor and Tie Publ. c/o Concord Music, BMI)

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