The Legend of the Crossroads -
It's a gloomy night at a crossroads on a rural Mississippi plantation in the early 1930's. A struggling blues musician named Robert Johnson has a burning desire to play his guitar better than anyone else. At this lonely intersection, the Devil waits for Johnson. With the moon shining down, the Devil plays a few songs on Johnson's guitar. When Robert Johnson gets his guitar back, he has complete mastery over the instrument. His soul now belongs to the supernatural being, and for the next 5 years or so, he creates music that will live past his tragic, suspicious death in 1938 at the age of 27.
The story is legend; an entertaining tale told by traveling bluesmen through the South that eventually seeped into popular culture. But the astounding music Robert Johnson left behind continues to influence music more than 70 years after his death. His poetic lyrics and the sense of dread and doom he brought to his songs inspired Eric Clapton, the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Muddy Waters, Jack White, John Mayer and countless others both famous and unknown.
John Dee Holeman is one of those supremely talented blues musicians you've probably never heard of. He learned his art from Blind Boy Fuller and was influenced by Lightnin' Hopkins. For many of his 86 years, he's traveled the backroads of North Carolina, playing his guitar in both the Piedmont and Texas style. John received a National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship and has toured America, Europe and Asia continuing the blues tradition.
John Dee Holeman discovered the Martin 000-42 later in life. It's the perfect guitar for playing mournful, dark Delta blues.
And you don't have to sell your soul to do it.
Continue your journey to find the Crossroads with photos on Flickr, then go behind the scenes with our Facebook album, and finally check out a video of John Dee Holeman in action on Youtube. Photos by Jimmy Williams.
John Dee is represented by the The Music Maker Relief Foundation which helps the true pioneers and forgotten heroes of Southern music gain recognition and meet their day to day needs. For more information visit: www.musicmaker.org