Getting Deep: Musical Examples of "The Crossroads" and Beyond

"The Crossroads" is a place where most of us find ourselves fairly regularly. They are characterized by a demand to make a decision to head down one of several divergent paths. Should we break up with so and so? Move to a new town? Abandon our current career direction? Or, it could be less heavy than all that: Should we have pinto or black beans with our meal?

Here is some helpful advice when it comes to being in such a predicament: black beans tend to be better in Cuban food, while pintos tend to be the way to go if you're eating Mexican.

As for the other scenarios, the best advice is probably to relax as much as possible before taking a step one way or the other, and then to not worry so much after the decision has been made, as all the paths lead toward the grave anyway. (Yep, that's a paragraph that discusses beans and death.)

In American music, the Crossroads have been a popular topic ever since legendary bluesman Robert Johnson went there purposely to trade his soul to the devil in exchange for crazy guitar skills. The deal apparently went down, because Johnson went on to become one of the most influential guitarists of all time. And, his followers have not only honored him through their guitar work, but also by paying homage to the place where he hooked up with Satan and got his mind-blowing chops.

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On Americana blues duo Peter Karp and Sue Foley's new album, Beyond the Crossroads, the singer-songwriters offer a dozen sympathetic and encouraging tunes for individuals and a world that seems to be standing heavy-hearted at that mythical place where a step is necessary, but the correct direction is not apparent.

Ahead of Karp and Foley's upcoming gig at the Bamboo Room, County Grind would like to take a brief look back at the crossroads, as imagined by a handful of diverse musicians, so that we may better appreciate just what Karp and Foley are guiding us beyond.

First, let's check out our talented guides. Here's Karp and Foley going beyond:

Robert Johnson is the Godfather of the Crossroads. Here's the tune that started it all.

Eric Clapton and Cream later made Johnson's song a hit. Though Clapton has strayed from the Crossroads into Adult Contemporary Town over the years, if you look into his eyes you can tell he's been there.

At this point, Britney Spears may have been there as well, but probably hadn't yet when she made this movie...

Our girl Tracy Chapman, on the other hand, reeks of the Crossroads in the most beautiful way.

As does this wandering, American soul, the troubadour Don McLean.

Let's not forget this 90s hip hop ode with Bone Thugs (what!?).

And finally, a 21st Century guitar-led take from a very 21st Century popular American musician. John Mayer himself causes folks to be at the crossroads of whether or not to like him. Whichever way you tend to go, this is a pretty tight little number, though admittedly much weaker sauce than Cream's version (pun intended).

Peter Karp and Sue Foley. 9 p.m. Saturday, May 12 at Bamboo Room, 25 South J St., Lake Worth. Tickets cost $15-$20. Click here.

Follow County Grind on Facebook and Twitter: @CountyGrind.

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