Anyone who doubts that traditional electric blues is alive and well need look no further than these three up-and-comers. Ranging in age from 15 to 25, these rising stars have assimilated styles first laid down by masters of the genre. Be sure to let us know, in the comments section, about other young players who warrant special attention.

Who: Christone “Kingfish” Ingram

Age: 15

Where: Clarksdale, MS

Main Influences: B.B. King, Elmore James, Albert Collins, Muddy Waters

Tools of the Trade: Ingram’s red ES-335 is the mainstay of his performance gear.

Why He’s Worth Watching: Ingram began playing drums at 6, bass at 9, and added lead guitar at 11. By seventh grade, he was already booking shows in his native Clarksdale—where he also took classes at the town’s famous Delta Blues Museum. Though only 15, he’s already shared the stage with the likes of Buddy Guy, and has appeared on national television shows. “I never thought anything like this would be happening,” says the young player, commenting on the attention that’s come his way. “No words can describe it.”


Who: Jared James Nichols

Age: 25

Where: Los Angeles, CA (raised in Wisconsin)

Main Influences: Albert King, Lonnie Mack, Paul Kossoff, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Leslie West

Tools of the Trade: Nichols’ instruments of choice are a Gibson Flying V and a Les Paul Custom with a single P-90 in the bridge. “I was attracted to the V not just because some of my heroes like Albert King and Lonnie Mack played them, but also because of the tone,” he told Guitar World. “It's really a flat, long piece of mahogany that has this great mid-range bite. ‘Old Glory’ is what I call my Les Paul. It’s kind of a mish-mash, a crazy-looking old Custom with a ’58 body and ’68 hardware.”

Why He’s Worth Watching: By the time he was 21, Nichols had already opened shows for such legends as Buddy Guy and “Honeyboy” Edwards, and had logged more than 500 gigs. This past April, Lynyrd Skynyrd invited him to join them onstage at an arena show in Germany. His debut EP, Old Glory and the Wild Revival, has earned rave reviews. “I want people to get excited,” he says. “I want them to feel like anything is possible in this music. I want them to know great blues rock exists. If I can give someone the same inspiration I was blessed with, I've done something right.”


Who: Marcus King

Age: 19

Where: Greenville, S.C.

Main Influences: Warren Haynes, Derek Trucks, Jimi Hendrix, Gary Glark Jr.

Tools of the Trade: You will rarely see King without his trusty Gibson SG. Indeed, a photo of his cherished SG, leaning against an amp, adorns the cover of The Marcus King Band’s debut LP. In those rare instances when he opts for a different guitar, he has an ES-335 at the ready.

Why He’s Worth Watching: No less an authority than Warren Haynes has lauded King’s talent, saying, “The potential for [King’s] music is endless.” In fact, Soul Insight, the debut album by King and his band, is being issued by Haynes’ own record label, Evil Teen Records. Although only 19, King has opened shows for the likes of the Foo Fighters, Gov’t Mule and the late Johnny Winters. “Recording the album was a really organic experience,” says King, who produced the LP as well. “Whether I wrote the song or, in the case of the instrumentals, we developed them together as a band, we had played them long enough so we were really comfortable with the material.”