Kenny Wayne Shepherd Discusses Muddy Waters' 'Hard Again' — The Record That Changed My Life

by Kenny Wayne Sheperd
Posted Jul 25, 2014 at 4:16pm

Kenny Wayne Shepherd chooses (and discusses) the record that changed his life.

Muddy Waters
Hard Again (1977)

"Hard Again is not just one of the greatest blues albums of all time, it's one of the greatest albums of all time. It came out the year I was born, in 1977, on Blue Sky Records. Johnny Winter produced and played guitar on it.

"It's packed with great blues musicians: James Cotton on harmonica, Pinetop Perkins on piano, Willie 'Big Eyes' Smith on drums and 'Steady Rollin'' Bob Margolin on guitar as well. When I was three years old, my dad took me to see Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker. That was my first concert and my introduction to the blues. So even though I was young when I discovered Hard Again, I was already a fan.

"My dad was a DJ who did the morning show at a local radio station when I was growing up. I would drive into work with him in the morning and hang out until it was time for me to go to school. Then another DJ who had the overnight shift would take my dad's car and drive me to school... only we would pull around the corner—I was 13 years old at the time—and the guy would jump out of the driver's seat and we would switch places. He would let me drive my dad's car to school. And the first thing I would do is put on this Muddy Waters record and crank it up, man. Every single day, on the way to middle school."

"That album changed me in a lot of ways. It has a lot to do with my interest in blues music. But also I decided that, if I was gonna sing, I wanted to sound like Muddy Waters. But I couldn't do it when I was young. That's one reason why I shied away from singing for so long and just focused on the guitar.

"So that album definitely changed my life, because for as long as I can remember listening to it, it's been my favorite album and it's made me want to play the blues. It inspires me every time I listen to it. It makes me want to run and pick up a guitar and start playing."


Add a Comment
0 Comments

Similar Guitar News

Don't Miss Muddy Waters' Dr. Pepper Radio Ad (10/28/2015)
Although it's always been relatively uncommon, legendary old-school blues musicians have let their voices and/or images be used to sell products in ads and commercials. There's that semi-famous 1993 John Lee Hooker ad Lee Jeans, for instance! S...
Jonny Lang and Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band Announce Co-Headlining U.S. Tour (3/9/2015)
This June, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Jonny Lang will hit the road together for the first time on a co-headlining U.S. tour. The tour will begin June 11 in Portland, Maine, and will head down the East Coast and into the Midwest and South, culminat...
Joe Bonamassa Covers Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf on New DVD — Video (3/9/2015)
“They always try to write off the blues. Well, we’ve proven tonight that at least 9,000 people like the blues.” So says Joe Bonamassa on Joe Bonamassa: Muddy Wolf at Red Rocks, a new live CD, DVD and Blu-ray that will be released March 24. The ...
WIN! Kenny Wayne Shepherd VIP meet and greet tickets (3/3/2015)
Read more about WIN! Kenny Wayne Shepherd VIP meet and greet tickets at MusicRadar.com American blues guitarist, singer and songwriter Kenny Wayne Shepherd plays London's O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire on Wednesday April 15, and we have five pairs of...
Kenny Wayne Shepherd talks new album Goin' Home track-by-track (5/6/2014)
Read more about Kenny Wayne Shepherd talks new album Goin' Home track-by-track at MusicRadar.com
Kenny Wayne Shepherd talks Strats (4/29/2014)
Read more about Kenny Wayne Shepherd talks Strats at MusicRadar.com
Mojo Workin': 10 Great Muddy Waters Covers (4/4/2014)
If Muddy Waters were an actual god — instead of just a blues god — he would've turned 101 years old today, April 4, 2014. Instead, the legendary bluesman, who his mother knew as McKinley Morganfield, died April 30, 1983, in Westmont, Illinois. W...
Dear Guitar Hero: Johnny Winter Talks Gibson Firebirds, Muddy Waters, "Highway 61 Revisited" and More (4/2/2014)
He’s an albino blues guitarist who’s jammed with Muddy Waters, Jimi Hendrix and Duane Allman. But what Guitar World readers really want to know is … How old were you when you started playing blues? — Gene E. Levi I was probably around 12 years o...
Listen: Kenny Wayne Shepherd Premieres "Palace of the King" from New Album, 'Goin' Home' (3/25/2014)
Kenny Wayne Shepherd will release a new studio album, Goin' Home, May 20 via Concord Records. "This is a homecoming in more ways than one," Shepherd says of the album, which will be the debut release of the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band. "I felt lik...
Kenny Wayne Shepherd Releases Teaser Videos for Upcoming Album (1/8/2014)
Starting in December, Kenny Wayne Shepherd has been releasing brief teaser clips for this upcoming album. He's already released three of them, all of which you can check out below. In the first one, he asks fans to guess who's playing harmonica....
Exclusive Video: Stephen Stills, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Richie Furay Perform "For What It's Worth" on 'Austin City Limits' (11/22/2013)
Below, you can see GuitarWorld.com's exclusive video from this weekend's upcoming episode of Austin City Limits. One of the highlights of the episode, which is devoted to the 2013 Americana Honors & Awards, is a guitar-heavy performance of B...
Exclusive Videos: Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Band of Gypsys Bassist Billy Cox Discuss 2014 Experience Hendrix Tour (11/22/2013)
The eighth edition of the Experience Hendrix Tour will launch in March 2014. The month-long tour, which is presented by BandFuse: Rock Legends, will bring together a diverse group of artists paying homage to the genius of Jimi Hendrix. This ye...
Easy Riders: Stephen Stills and Kenny Wayne Shepherd Discuss Their New Blues-Rock Supergroup, The Rides (10/28/2013)
This is an excerpt from the December 2013 issue of Guitar World. For the rest of this story and more — including Nirvana, Chris Broderick, Cage the Elephant, a fuzz box roundup and John Petrucci's new column — check out the December 2013 issue a...
Dear Guitar Hero: Buddy Guy Discusses Muddy Waters, Fender Strats, Touring with The Rolling Stones and More (10/7/2013)
He’s been called the greatest living guitarist by Eric Clapton, he’s played with blues legends like Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, and his new double album, Rhythm and Blues, is a powerhouse set with guest shots by Aerosmith, Kid Rock, Gary Clar...
Stephen Stills, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Barry Goldberg talk super sessions, Hendrix and more (9/1/2013)
Read more about Stephen Stills, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Barry Goldberg talk super sessions, Hendrix and more at MusicRadar.com On a late Tuesday morning in New York City, Stephen Stills digs into an egg white omelet in the Tea Room of the tony ...