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Picks for the week of January 9-15, 2008

Sunday Jan. 13
Little Fox
2209 Broadway
Redwood City

Country Joe McDonald

NOBODY is more responsible for the '60s folk renaissance than Woodie Guthrie. Though Guthrie himself was largely inactive during this time, not even his greatest protégé, Bob Dylan, would deny the impact of Guthrie's politically driven folk on the music world. Another '60s performer inspired by Guthrie is Country Joe McDonald, whose debt to Guthrie is largely paid off by this stirring tribute, in which McDonald performs all the classics without neglecting to convey the tragedies of Guthrie's personal life. The 90-minute show ends with a reading from McDonald's father's autobiography, An Old Guy Who Feels Good, which recounts his memories of music and the Dust Bowl era, a period that Guthrie often focused on portraying.

Steel Pulse
Wednesday Jan. 9
Moe's Alley
1535 Commercial Way
Santa Cruz

Warsaw Poland Brothers

WITNESS the growing popularity of the Warsaw Poland Brothers, a Tucson three-piece who have hit on the brilliant idea to meld punk-ska to the carousing, anthemic Irish-drinking-song punk that the Pogues and recently Flogging Molly traffic in. It's a potent mix, and anyone who makes it through this show without getting on the dance floor may need to give the Sufjan Stevens records a rest. Don't fear the geriatric golfer pants and the ill-fitting suit jackets, with their unique take on ska and the classic punk tropes, Warsaw Poland Brothers make a compelling case for another two-tone revival.

Steel Pulse
Saturday Jan. 15
Santa Clara Convention
Center Theater
5001 Great America Pkwy
Santa Clara

Jessica Johnson

SAN JOSE native Jessica Johnson has been turning heads and ears with her smooth and soulful brand of jazz infused R&B, earning more praise and awards than most musicians twice her age receive in a lifetime. At 19 years old, what Johnson may lack in professional experience is made up for with a voice as strong and bright as a young Aretha Franklin. Her recently released debut CD, Till It Happens, is a dynamic collection of R&B treasures that span from Stevie Wonder's "You and I" to classics like "Summertime" and "Cry Me a River." With a promising start towards a brilliant career, San Jose's own Jessica Johnson might be one of the next divas of soul.

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