Thursday, May 6, 2010
At the age of 13, at 1967’s Monterey Pop Festival, Mike Beck fell in love with the Monterey County Fairgrounds.
“I remember seeing Ravi Shankar and saying, ‘Wow, what is this? It’s amazing,’” Beck says.
Some 43 years later, Beck and his band, the Bohemian Saints, are musicians in residence at the Fairgrounds’ Turf Club, playing extended sets the first Friday of every month.
“We wanted to find a place where we could go in, do our own thing,” Beck says. “We’re going to start doing more visual stuff like liquid light shows.”
Friday, Beck plays from his recently released solo album, Feel, an acoustic collection of Merle Haggard songs.
Dusty tunes like “In Old California” and “Alberta Cowgirl” channel the dirt roads and strong whisky of early Americana. Beck’s knowledge of Appalachian race music and Woody Guthrie adds an aged authenticity to his own material.
This summer, Beck plans on playing solo shows in Texas, Colorado, Oklahoma and a show in Montana – where he lives part-time – with Jeff (“Bad Blake”) Bridges. But the monthly Turf Club gig still makes him giddy. “We play 50 feet from where Jimi Hendrix burned his guitar,” he says.