Luther Dickinson’s second solo record, “Blues & Ballads (A Folksinger’s Songbook), Vol. I & II,” is a celebration of the heroes of Mississippi hill-country blues. Much like early bluesmen weaved folk heroes Stagger Lee, Casey Jones, and John Henry into the American songbook, Dickinson aimed to canonize the characters that inspired him with original songs.

Those legends—including R.L. Burnside, Mississippi Fred McDowell, and Junior Kimbrough—continue to inspire artists like Dickinson, Jack White, and the Black Keys. “Moonshine,” for example, recalls late nights jamming at Kimbrough’s juke joint.

Here, Dickinson reveals the five riffs that changed his life.

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Originally published in Guitar Player, June 2017