Farmboy Breakdown
By: Beck Hansen

Written by: Beck Hansen

Alternate Titles:

a.k.a. Instrumental Rag

  1. Farmboy Breakdown (2:51)
    Available on Banjo Story.
    unknown: Drums
    Beck Hansen: Guitar (Acoustic), Vocals
Farmboy Breakdown [Version (a)]:

Yeeha! Yahoo!
The Song:

This little country-stomp instrumental is a pretty charming break in the middle of Banjo Story. Beck whoops enthusiastically like a drunk cowboy. It's a simple recording of just guitar and drums, and I'll assume was a spontaneous jam.

Beck told Dwight Yoakam in a 2018 interview that he was often mockingly called 'Farmboy' because of his predilection for old music as a kid. He didn't know all the rock riffs of the '70s and '80s, he preferred The Carter Family and Mississippi John Hurt.

In 2013, at some acoustic band shows, Beck took to performing "Farmboy Breakdown" (or something very similar). At one of the shows, he mentioned Banjo Story so I think he was aware of the original in relation to this new take. But the setlist apparently referred to it as "Country Time" and at one of the shows, Beck said it had no name. I'm still going to refer to it as "Farmboy Breakdown" and not a new song.


Played live 6 times:
Earliest known live version: September 1, 1996
Latest known live version: January 11, 2019

"Farmboy Breakdown" was pretty much forgotten until Beck pulled it out of nowhere years later on September 1 1996. The show was not really part of his big tour, but a more intimate acoustic club show in Hoboken, NJ as a breather from his Odelay tour. In the middle of the short set, Beck started picking this on his acoustic guitar, complete with loud "Wooohooo!" and fun tempo accelerations. The crowd loved it.

Then in 2013, Beck played three acoustic band shows, at which he broke out a country instrumental that sounds very much like "Farmboy Breakdown." Apparently the setlist referred to the song as "Country Time." At one, he mentioned Banjo Story directly, so I think he knew the song originated there.

The second night, guest fiddler Richard Bowden played on the song. The third night, Andrew Bird joined in on fiddle, as well as Annalisa Tornfeldt on fiddle too, and Chris Funk on banjo.