Every so often in Crossroads Guitar Festival 2007 you can see the beaming host, Eric Clapton, behind a stack of amps shooting photos of his fellow performers. It’s clear that he loves what he’s put together as a benefit for his Crossroads Centre substance-abuse recovery program in Antigua: a parade of ax masters from the cross-breeding worlds of rock, blues, and country, icons like Buddy Guy, B.B. King, Willie Nelson, Robbie Robertson, and Jeff Beck, non-slouches such as Susan Tedeschi and hubby Derek Trucks, John Mayer, Los Lobos, Sheryl Crow, Vince Gill, and Sonny Landreth.
Clapton himself saves most of his stage time for the latter half, appearing solo before joining up first with Robertson and then with Steve Winwood to reprise three tunes he and Winwood did together with Blind Faith. Johnny Winter’s sole entry, “Highway 61 Revisited,” retains all the grit of his original cover, and Albert Lee is a demon as he teams with Vince Gill for “Country Boy.” Hubert Sumlin and B.B. King, alongside Jimmie Vaughan and the Robert Cray Band, are living testimonials to longevity, and Willie is, oh, just Willie. Several of the artists also appear on the DVD of the 2004 fest, and Clapton would do well to start diversifying more if he hopes to keep the franchise going. But for guitar freaks, there’s nothing here to get the blues about.