Eric Clapton's fourth Crossroads Guitar Festival took place this past Friday and Saturday night at New York City's Madison Square Garden. Besides Clapton, this year's lineup included Jeff Beck, Buddy Guy, B.B. King, Jimmie Vaughan, the Allman Brothers Band, Gary Clark Jr., Robert Cray and Vince Gill.
This year, with no Allmans-related albums filling up the new-releases bin, the blues, blues-rock and roots-rock vacuum has been filled — rather handily — by top Texans ZZ Top and Gary Clark Jr., habitual favorites Robert Cray and Bonnie Raitt and and the powerful, exciting trad blues of the late Michael "Iron Man" Burks, who died of a heart attack earlier this year at age 54.
I guess you could say this about any recent year, but 2012 often felt a lot like the late '70s. We got high-profile studio releases by Van Halen, ZZ Top, Aerosmith, Neil Young, Carlos Santana, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Rush, Kiss, Joe Walsh, Asia, Ringo Starr, Alvin Lee, Jeff Lynne and two members of The Jam, plus a live Led Zeppelin album and a pair of new songs by The Rolling Stones.
Guitarist Robert Cray has teamed up with producer Kevin Shirley (Joe Bonamassa, Aerosmith, Iron Maiden, Black Country Communion) to record his new album, Nothin But Love, which will be released August 27.
No, he can't squeeze strings like Albert King or Albert Collins. And he doesn't have the grit of an Otis Rush or Lowell Fulson. He's got a great voice, but it's not in the same league with all-time greats like B.B. King or Big Joe Turner or Wynonie Harris.