Country Joe McDonald performs in Pagosa Springs Monday and Tuesday, July 23 and 24, at 7 p.m. as part of the Summer Concert Series at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts.
The first night, Country Joe will perform a musical tribute to Woody Guthrie. The next evening he will perform a very different show: songs that made him a ’60s counterculture icon.
Advanced tickets for $28 may be purchased online at www.pagosacenter.org or by calling 731-SHOW (7469). Tickets at the door are $35.
Country Joe was the lead singer and guitarist in the ’60s psychedelic rock band, Country Joe and the Fish. Through their performances at the Monterey Pop Festival and both the original and the reunion Woodstock Festivals, Country Joe and the Fish road a wave to stardom. In 1971, the band appeared in a Western film starring Don Johnson; also, in the George Lucas film, “More American Graffiti; and in the Roger Corman film, “Gas-s-s-s.”
Country Joe’s biggest hit was “I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-to-Die Rag,” one of the most memorable anti-war songs of all time, which became an anthem of the ’60s after his solo acoustic performance of it at Woodstock. Country Joe’s original songs also include lyrical love songs and ballads. With the Fish, Country Joe was billed with such groups as Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Moby Grape, Blue Cheer, Led Zeppelin and Iron Butterfly. For a long time, Country Joe dated Janis Joplin, who also appeared at Woodstock. He released his first record in 1965 and since then has continued his performing career, touring throughout the U.S. and abroad, with over 30 albums and hundreds of original songs to his credit.
About his Guthrie tribute (his Monday night concert), Country Joe says, “It is the idea of a man of the people playing music of the people in his own way — music that the people can relate to, that says what they can’t say but what they feel. Woody did this and it enabled others to do it.”
Known by the nickname the “Dust Bowl Troubadour,” Guthrie produced songs that defined an era from the mid-1930s to the late 1940s in songs he composed that spoke to the hardships of Depression-era America, Dust Bowl refugees, migrant workers, labor strife, racial inequity, economic justice and war. His best-known song is “This Land Is Your Land.”
Country Joe has performed his tribute to Woody Guthrie concert to great acclaim in the U.S. and abroad. His Monday night show in Pagosa occurs just a few days after the centennial of Guthrie’s birth. A DVD of the show will be released this year.
For the next evening, Country Joe will step back into his own persona to perform a full range of original music that makes him a noteworthy American musician.
Woody Guthrie and Country Joe McDonald have a lot in common. Their music epitomizes the spirit of freedom. Choose your night or come enjoy both.
The Summer Concert Series continues July 31 with Andrew Dahl-Bredine, a singer, songwriter, guitarist and world music artist who performs intoxicating melodies from Brazil, Spain and Africa, and engaging original songs.
The Summer Concert Series is a collaboration between the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts and Elation Center for the Arts.