Album Review: Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival 2013 – Various Artists

Published On November 11, 2013 | By David Callaghan | Albums

My Dad never used to swear by the Bible; he swore by Eric Clapton instead. As a child, you’re too impatient and fidgety to know what’s good for you, so I never listened, to my Pops or Clapton. Now of course all these years later, I want to apologize and salute you Dad, in the same sentence. You knew what you were doing.

Eric Clapton Guitar Festival CrossroadsTo have the ability to mesmerize hundreds of thousands of people with the tricks and trades of a guitar is no mean feat. Eric Clapton however, has been doing this for decades and at sixty-eight, he doesn’t look like he’s slowing down anytime soon. The longevity of his career is outstanding; as a solo artist alone he has amassed twenty-one studio and eleven live albums, amongst seventeen compilations. The latest live album being Crossroads Guitar Festival 2013.

It is a joyful mixture of soulful blues, jazz and rock with a smooth array of artists, including one of Clapton’s very own inspirations, Buddy Guy, amongst others. The platform has been set. So just kick back, relax and appreciate the talented sounds coming through the speakers, as Crossroads Guitar Festival 2013 personifies just that.

I’d like to describe it as a pure celebration of instrumental geniuses, who’ve came together to showcase to the world that music with soul and purpose is still being made and performed, and yes indeed it stretches beyond the top 40 chart.

Of course this was the one of many purposes of the album, and Clapton kicks off the show with Tears In Heaven. The slow melodic ballad sounds just as relevant today as it did back in 1992 upon its release. Lay Down Sally, the second song that delves further back into Clapton’s career (1977), was a huge crossover country hit at that time. Even when listening now, with a song that’s thirty-six years old, you can envision the Madison Square Garden crowd of 2013 rocking away to this classic.

Clapton starts and ends this album, with a number of small appearances in between, and with twenty-nine tracks on the record, the list of collaborators is almost endless. More contemporary artists such as John Mayer, Doyle Bramhall II and Kurt Rosenwinkel are just as paramount as old school heads like Steve Cropper, The Robert Cray band and Booker T, who features with the absolute beast that is Green Onions, a song that can be enjoyed anytime anywhere.

Whether you’re sixteen or sixty, there is not a chance on this earth you will not sit and appreciate the musical magic that takes place on Crossroads Guitar Festival 2013. It’s a history lesson in the making; an education in every song and how one man, with a few of his friends, have shaped the course of music over the last fifty years, and if they have their way, continue to do so.

4.5 / 5 stars     

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