Jeff Beck and Texas rockers will join forces

Gary Linehan, The Union Democrat

Ironstone Vineyards in Murphys will present the second and final concert in its 2014 outdoor series on Friday with performances by Grammy winners and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members ZZ Top and Jeff Beck.

Each will play a full set, then combine their talents for the finale.

ZZ Top and Jeff Beck, both long time music legends, are on tour together this month for the first time. The five-week tour was scheduled to open Aug. 8 in Missoula, Mont., with other stops in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Denver, Detroit, Boston and New York City.

ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons, speaking on behalf of bandmates Dusty Hill and Frank Beard, noted that Beck has been a source of musical inspiration for them from the time Beck played in the Yardbirds in the 1960s.

"Ever since experiencing 'Jeff's Boogie,' the prospect of performance with Jeff Beck on the deck brings us into focus with the curator of crunch," Gibbons said.

Likewise, Beck has been an enduring fan of ZZ Top, even before their ascendance in popularity in the 1970s. "Ever since 'Eliminator,' I thought it would be great to play with ZZ Top," Beck said.

This tour is not the first live collaboration between the Texas rockers and English fret master. Gibbons joined Beck and his band on stage at the 25th anniversary celebration of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009 at New York's Madison Square Garden, where they performed the Jimi Hendrix Experience hit "Foxy Lady" and ZZ Top's "Rough Boy" together.

The following year, Beck joined ZZ Top in Lucca, Italy, for an extended rendition of the band's signature piece "La Grange."

This, however, marks the first time the two have done any sort of extensive touring together.

ZZ Top, formed in the Houston area in 1969, became a huge national touring act in the 1970s and darlings of MTV in the '80s, going on to sell tens of millions of records. Their unique hybrid of blues and hard rock while incorporating new sounds and technology earned them a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.

ZZ Top previously performed at Ironstone in 2010.

Beck, a native of London and two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Famer - with the Yardbirds in 1992 and on his own in 2009 - helped set the template in the '60s for the solo-heavy, feedback-laden, guitar hero archetype. He formed the Jeff Beck Group by the end of that decade with a then-unknown vocalist Rod Stewart, and eventually went solo, with forays into fusion and beyond in the mid-'70s. Beck, like ZZ Top, has continually incorporated new sounds and technologies into his work throughout his 50-year career.

Lately, Beck has been working on a new studio album, his first since the 2010 release of "Emotion & Commotion," which earned him two Grammy Awards and hia highest charting debut.

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The Union Democrat
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