Christone “Kingfish” Ingram plays blues rock at the Half Shell on July 5

Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, 17, has been playing instruments since he was 6 years old. He brings virtuoso blues rock lead guitar to the Half Shell tonight.

Reminiscent of blues-rock guitar legend Stevie Ray Vaughan, Christone “Kingfish” Ingram takes the stage at 7 p.m. Tonight at the Nichols Band Shell in Roseburg’s Stewart Park, continuing the 2016 Music on the Half Shell concert series.

A cousin to country singer Charley Pride — who himself has 36 number one hits — Ingram has quickly gained popularity even before he reaches adulthood. He may already play like a seasoned musician at only 17 today, but Ingram is no newcomer to music.

Born in 1999, Ingram started playing music early in life, beginning with drums at the age of 6. After that he progressed to bass guitar at 9 and learned lead guitar by age 11. He added vocals to his musical repertoire at 14, singing lead while playing guitar.

“He’s incredible,” said Half Shell organizer Clint Newell. “It’s obviously not very common to have a young performer like that, a 17-year-old, on your stage, but this kid is pretty incredible.”

Ingram may be young, but he exudes the confidence of a master while playing electric guitar on stage, appearing as if he’s been playing in front of an audience his entire life, which he almost has.

Comfortable in his own skin, Ingram clutches a guitar while playing long lead melodies that dominate a song, making it sound like an instrumental. Then he adjusts the microphone to sing lead vocals while playing rhythm guitar, well on his way to developing his own stage presence and musical style.

Considered a blues artist, Ingram masterfully plays the blues, rhythm and blues, and blues rock, being influenced by gospel music in his youth through his family’s church. He further picked up on the blues by listening to musicians playing in his Mississippi Delta neighborhood of Clarksdale.

He continued learning about the blues at the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale under the guidance of local musicians like Daddy Rich and Bill “Howl-N-Madd” Perry, who teach in the museum’s Arts and Education program.

The exuberance of his performance can be experienced through YouTube videos with his toe-tapping tunes reflecting a combination of different related genres.

He incorporates the sounds of delta blues musicians like Muddy Waters, and the electric blues of B.B. King and Albert Collins, and the blues rock of Johnny Winter, all the while adding his own flavor of lead guitar to the mix, playing in a trance-like state like Jimi Hendrix.

Besides naturally emulating his musical predecessors, Ingram has shared the stage with notable musicians such as Rick Derringer and Buddy Guy. On television, he has appeared on the Rachael Ray and Steve Harvey shows. Ingram also performed for First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House.

“Christone ‘Kingfish’ Ingram has the talent, the ability, the work ethic, the intellect and the drive to do for the blues what Tiger Woods did for golf,” said Rock Newman on the Rock Newman Show, repeating a quote he heard.

Ingram’s first recording made in 2014 is called “Deltaboy.” It features two original songs written by him: “Don’t Waste My Time” and “Hell & High Water.” On these tunes he played bass while overdubbing the guitar parts with drummer Joe Eagle holding the beat.

“I think people will be really amazed by his talent,” Newell said.

Ingram will begin playing from 7 to 9 p.m. tonight at the Half Shell stage. See his website at www.christonekingfishingram.com to sample or purchase his recordings.

Reporter Vera Westbrook can be reached at 541-957-4216 or vwestbrook@nrtoday.com.

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Education and Arts and Entertainment Reporter

Vera Westbrook is the education, nonprofits, and arts and entertainment reporter for The News-Review. She can be reached at 541-957-4216 or by email at vwestbrook@nrtoday.com.

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