Beck plans to trade in his mixing board and effects machines for a slide guitar and banjo when he performs a
country-blues set on stage in his hometown Los Angeles later this month.
Inspired by his Oct. 4 Farm Aid appearance in Tinley Park, Ill., during which he dueted with Willie Nelson on Jimmie
Rogers' "Peach Pickin' Time Down in Georgia," Beck will show off his more country-blues side for a special one-off club
date at L.A.'s 900-capacity El Ray Theater on Nov. 19.
"I think he just enjoyed playing with the band from Farm Aid so much that he decided to do this show in L.A.," said a spokesperson at Gold
Mountain, the management company that handles Beck. "It also gives him a chance to play some of
the material from his  K Records' album [One Foot in the Grave] and songs like "Sleeping Bag" and more traditional
stuff like the Jimmie Rogers number."
The show, "Beck Acoustic With Friends," will feature the Grammy-winning, alternative poster boy
playing with 19-year-old fiddle-playing prodigy Gabe Witcher, Little Feat keyboardist Billy Payne, pedal steel master Jay
Dee Maness (who played on Eric Clapton's "Tears in Heaven") and his usual sidemen Smokey Hormel (guitar), Justin
Meldal-Johnsen (bass) and Joey Waronker (drums).
L.A. band Whisky Biscuit will open the show.
Rodney Nardi, the El Ray's manager, said the show -- tickets for which go on sale for $20 this Saturday -- is part of a trend
he's seen lately with major artists trying to get back to their core audiences with smaller shows. "Beck was just here last night
to see the Tindersticks," Nardi said. "He just called up a while ago and said he wanted to play here.
"I think a lot of people are into playing intimate venues," Nardi added. "Playing the huge stadiums may make them happy, but they also
seem to want to keep in contact with people, which is cool. It's nice to sometimes see a show without using binoculars."
The Wilshire avenue venue, which has booked everyone from Guided by Voices, to Tricky, the Cardigans and Spiritualized
since it opened more than a year ago, will be hosting a five-night stand by Bob Dylan in December.
As a sort of preview to the El Ray show, the hip-hop loving mixologist will also be featured on this Saturday's "Sessions at
West 54th" on PBS. Beck publicist Dennis Dennehy said that pre-recorded performance could be the only change fans will get to catch on tape a version of the until-now-unrecorded Prince-like soul tune "I Wanna Get With
You," a live staple of recent shows. [Thur., Nov. 6, 1997, 9 a.m. PST]