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Country Joe McDonald, October 6, 8pm

As helmsman of the psychedelic folk-rock outfit Country Joe and the Fish (the leading left wing band of the ’60s), Country Joe McDonald was dedicated to sharing his political views via his original folk-like music. To this day, he continues with that same approach, questioning right and wrong, invariably prodding his audience to think for themselves. The Washington, D.C. native grew up in El Monte, and came into prominence while performing with “the Fish” throughout the San Francisco Bay area at clubs like the Avalon, the Jabberwocky and the legendary Fillmore Auditorium. It seems like just yesterday that I caught Joe and his merry band of pranksters along with the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Starship and Boz Scaggs at San Francisco’s Moscone Center. The memory is permanently etched into my brain – yet I can’t remember much of it. I wonder why?

McCabe’s Guitar Store, 3101 Pico Blvd., 310.828.4497, www.mccabes.com, $16

Merle Haggard, October 11, 8pm

In order to churn out 37 straight Top Ten hits (including 23 number one singles) one would certainly need to have something on the ball, and without question country music icon Merle Haggard has had his eye on the ball for decades. Born in 1937 and a product of Bakersfield, Haggard was the most important country artist to emerge from the 1960s. As both a songwriter and performer, he pushed the boundaries of his music while remaining steadfast to his hardcore country roots. With a style encompassing elements of country, blues, folk and jazz, Merle always managed to put his own distinctive stamp on his music – and more often than not, to great results. Don’t miss seeing this true national treasure.

UCLA Live, Royce Hall, Westwood, 310.825.2101, www.uclalive.org, $17-$65

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