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Jammin’ with Purpose

Great American Taxi feature singer/guitarist Vince Herman, a founding member of Leftover Salmon, and they do a song called “Fuzzy Little Hippie Girl.”  So with a song title and jam band lineage like that it’s a no-brainer they’re playing Eugene, right? These country/rock road-warriors blend up-tempo classic country, folk and bluegrass, never afraid to address issues ranging from nuclear energy to war. On their latest release Paradise Lost, produced by Todd Snider, the group dials back the jam, placing even more emphasis on social commentary with songs like “Poor House” and “Radiation Blues” — perfect for fans of Steve Earle, Dan Hicks or Loudon Wainwright. “Politics should be in music,” Herman says. “Everything’s politics, especially music. Songwriting can draw attention to appropriate issues of our times.”

Joining Great American Taxi on their “Left Coast Tour” are Northern California’s Poor Man’s Whiskey (PMW). PMW, featuring Eugene-raised Chris Haugen, are known for appearances at notable music fests like High Sierra and Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. Having developed a legendary live show, the group blends traditional covers, offbeat reinterpretations of Pink Floyd and foot-stomping originals. Like Great American Taxi, PMW are not afraid to mix message in their music with songs like “Jesus Was A Hippie,” satirizing religious fundamentalism over gently plucked banjo and mariachi-influenced horns. Eugene is famous for its enthusiastic population of roots-music fans and this bill brings two of the scene’s top acts together in an intimate environment.

Great American Taxi and Poor Man’s Whiskey play 8 pm Wednesday, Nov. 7, at WOW Hall; $12 adv.; $15 door.