Various Artists

Crossroads Guitar Festival 2013

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Eric Clapton's Crossroads Festival, which features world-class guitar players from all over the globe and has been held every three years since 2004, works as a fundraiser for the Crossroads Centre in Antigua, a treatment and educational center Clapton founded in 1998 to help people suffering from chemical dependency. The first three concerts were single-day outdoor events held in Dallas in 2004, and in Chicago in 2007 and 2010, with the fourth, the concert represented by this two-disc set, moving indoors to Madison Square Garden in New York and expanding to two nights in 2013. Both shows were filmed and recorded for DVD and CD release. Clapton, who might be the most modest and unassuming star guitarist of his considerably talented generation, opens and closes these shows, and in between is a steady parade of the planet's best guitar players, often in interesting combinations. This set collects some of the key performances from the two-night event, and among the highlights of these are Clapton and Vince Gill's bright, shuffling version of "Lay Down Sally," John Mayer and Keith Urban putting together a surprisingly moving rendition of the Beatles' "Don't Let Me Down," Gill and Albert Lee's take on Rodney Crowell's "I Ain't Living Long Like This," and Keb' Mo' and Taj Mahal's intimate acoustic version of Sleepy John Estes' "Diving Duck Blues," but all of the tracks here feature striking and spirited guitar work with star players like Jeff Beck, Buddy Guy, Sonny Landreth, Robert Cray, Steve Cropper, Earl Klugh, Doyle Bramhall II, Gary Clark, Jr., Jimmie Vaughan, Derek Trucks, Warren Haynes, and Robert Randolph, among even others, lending a hand and a whole lot of great licks.

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