Beck To Join In Salute To Folk Anthologist Harry Smith

Elvis Costello, Marianne Faithful among those performing at tribute in April.

LOS ANGELES — After bringin’ the funk on his last album, Beck will put away the vocoder and dust off his acoustic guitar for an upcoming tribute to late folk revivalist Harry Smith.

The eclectic rocker will join vets Elvis Costello and Marianne Faithful to play excerpts from Smith’s influential Anthology of American Folk Music on April 25 and 26 at UCLA’s Royce Hall, a spokesperson for UCLA Performing Arts said.

Canadian singer/songwriters Mary Margaret O’Hara and Kate and Anna McGarrigle are also among the night’s performers, who will play their favorite tunes from the collection. All of the artists announced thus far will perform both nights, and more acts are expected to be added.

The event, dubbed Hal Willner’s Harry Smith Project, was held in London and New York in 1999 with different performers, including Lou Reed, Sonic Youth and Nick Cave.

In 1952, Smith released the three-volume Anthology of American Folk Music, which is credited with helping spark the folk-music revival and inspiring the careers of Bob Dylan, Jerry Garcia and others. The collection was reissued on CD in 1997.

The “secret” fourth volume, which he compiled at the same time as the others, was released last year. The set contained pioneers in several facets of roots music — songs by folk musicians like Clarence Ashley and Uncle Dave Macon, blues artists such as Blind Willie Johnson and Henry Thomas, country artists like the Stoneman Family, as well as Cajun performers and gospel singers.

Smith died in 1991 at age 68.