By Virginie Boone

When a young musician gets likened to B.B. King, Jimi Hendrix and Prince by Rolling Stone, you pay attention.

Christone Kingfish Ingram is said young musician, a 24-year-old singer, songwriter and guitarist who is taking the world by storm. He’ll be playing live at Rodney Strong Vineyards on May 17, as part of the Healdsburg Wine & Food Experience.

Joined by local food trucks such as Black Piglet, Austin’s Southern Smoke BBQ, and Dino’s Greek, a portion of the concert proceeds (priced at $85 per ticket) will go to Farm to Pantry, the local food rescue organization that keeps many in our community nourished and fed.

Rolling Stone first took notice of Ingram in 2018 before he had even made an album, putting him on their annual Hot List and calling him a “blues prodigy” and “old soul.” Guitar Magazine soon added to the accolades, describing him as “a contemporary torchbearer for Delta and Chicago blues,” describing his guitar phrasings as “primal and astonishingly soulful for someone so young, while his vocal style draws on a deep Delta Blues style.”

Having recently released his third album, Live in London, Ingram is already a Grammy Award winner, nominated for his first album, 2019’s Kingfish, and given a Grammy for his second album, 2021’s 662. Both albums reached#1 on the Billboard Blues Chart.

While it’s rare to see such a young guitarist devoted to the blues, Ingram sees blues music as the foundation for much of the music we consider contemporary today, from pop to hip hop and rap.

“It’s the foundation,” he told NPR Music. “People think it’s dead, but blues is definitely alive because you can hear it in all those genres of music. The roots are always going to be there.”

Originally from Clarksdale, Mississippi, Ingram started posting performances on YouTube as a teenager. Before long, he was headlining tours across the United States and Europe, expanding across the oceans to Australia, New Zealand and India. In 2022, he opened for The Rolling Stones in London before joining tours with Jason Isbell, Vampire Weekend, Steve Millerand Ingram’s mentor, Buddy Guy.

Clarksdale is an important marker in the history of the Mississippi Delta blues, near the mythical crossroads where, as Guitar Magazine describes it, “legend has it that Delta blues icon Robert Johnson traded his soul with the devil for musical success.”

Robert Johnson lived from 1911 to 1938 and only recorded music for seven months of his short life, but is considered the father of the Delta blues, and a major influence on such musicians as Eric Clapton, Keith Richards and Bob Dylan.

Clarksdale and the surrounding area is also the birthplace of Sam Cooke, Ike Turner, John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters, another of Ingram’s early influences (Waters lived and worked on the Stovall cotton plantation). Clarksdale is also an integral part of the Mississippi Blues Trail near Highways 49 and 61.

Ingram, whose mother, Princess Pride, is related to the late country singer Charley Pride, started playing guitar at a young age, and took classes at the Delta Blues Museum, playing with a contingent of Delta Blues Museum students at the White House for First Lady Michelle Obama, a seminal experience for the budding musician.

By the age of 16, he was given the Rising Star Award from The Rhythm and Blues Foundation and performed two of his songs on the Netflix show “Luke Cage.”

So come hear a major musical talent on the rise performing in our own backyard and enjoy a weekend celebrating Sonoma County’s vibrant culinary diversity, sustainable farming practices and deep connection to agriculture.