2008 releases artists artists to watch for in 2008 guitar music

Joe Pug, live on NPR’s Mountain Stage

This is a really short note here, but to any of you readers who have enjoyed the stuff you’ve heard from Joe Pug on this blog so far, you might want to head over to NPR to stream Joe Pug’s October 5 performance from NPR’s Mountain Stage in fulltrust me, you won’t regret it.

The set features two unreleased tracks – “Bury Me Far From My Uniform” (absolutely killer!) and “Not So Sure” – as well as “Nation of Heat” and “Hymn #101”.

Joe Pug… still easily one of my favourite artists for 2008.

Thanks to Sharyn from No Door Agency for dropping me a line and keeping me updated on Joe’s whereabouts.

For those of you in the US, you can catch Joe at one shows in his upcoming tour, listed below:

Tour Dates:
11/15  Bluebird Music and Arts Fest / Columbia, Missouri
11/17  Tractor Tavern w/ Joe Ely / Seattle, Washington
11/18  Aladdin w/ Joe Ely / Portland, Oregon
11/21  Cafe Du Nord / San Francisco, California
11/23  The Loft @ UCSD / La Jolla, California
11/24  Hotel Cafe / Los Angeles, California
11/29  Cranky Pat’s / Neenah, Wisconsin
12/5   Stubb’s BBQ / Austin, Texas
12/7   The Continental Club / Houston, Texas
12/10  Hodi’s Half Note / Fort Collins, Colorado
12/11  Bluebird Theater / Denver, Colorado
12/12  Fox Theater / Boulder, Colorado
12/13  Three 20 / South Breckenridge, Colorado
12/19  World Cafe Live (with Rhett Miller) / Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
12/20  The Black Cat (with Rhett Miller) / Washington DC
12/26  Barrymore Theater / Madison, Wisconsin
12/27  Gennesee Theater / Waukegan, Illinois
12/28  Rialto Square Theater / Joliet, Illinois
12/29  First Avenue / Minneapolis, Minnesota

2008 releases artists artists to watch for in 2008 music videos

Joe Pug news – A new signing, a new video, and tour dates announced

First off, thanks to Sharyn at No Door Agency for dropping me a line, and keeping me abreast of all the developments in Joe Pug‘s career.

I first covered Joe Pug on this blog back here, with this post: Joe Pug – Nation of Heat. A thoroughly impressive debut …
I was instantly captivated by Joe’s music; it was – quite simply – the most impressive debut I had heard in 2008… and that accolade still stands.

As I mentioned in that post, Joe Pug wants his music to be heard; in fact, he wants you to give his music away. Send in your mailing address, and he’ll send you back some sampler CDs for you to distribute to your friends (along with, I might add, a really appreciative hand-written note). When mine arrived in the post, I spread them around to a few friends… and requests have been coming in fast and furious from people who want to hear more.

So, it was with much happiness that I heard from Sharyn that Joe has now officially signed on with Monterey International (take a look at their roster and you’ll see how impressive this is), and in addition has an upcoming fall tour. And, to top it all off, Joe’s just released the official music video for killer track, “Hymn #101”, directed by Sam Molleur, which I’ve included below. Interesting side-note to go with the video? Joe actually visited a ghost town in California and had to break into a locked-up old tavern to film it. Heh. Dodgy legal issues aside… it’s a cracking video, and hopefully should do wonders for Joe in terms of attracting attention.

Watch it below:


Joe Pug “Hymn #101” Video


Honestly, I could not be happier for this kid
(and yes, he’s younger than me, so I can call him a kid). He’s everything that music should be: poignant, compassionate, intelligent… and he’s a damn nice dude to go with it, who really goes that extra step to foster relationships with his fans.
Just as I voiced in my last post: Let’s help this music be heard. Spread the word, tell a friend. Add your voice to the crowd.

I’ve included Joe’s tour dates below. If I was in the US, I’d be there in a heartbeat. If you can, get there.

Tour Dates

9/10 South Bend, IN  *
9/18 Chicago, IL  Park West >
10/3 Chicago, IL   The Hideout (w/ full band)
10/5 Charleston, WV   Mountain Stage
10/10 Indianapolis, IN   Radio Radio #
10/11 Pittsburgh, PA   Mr. Smalls &
10/12 Westhampton, NY   Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center ^
10/14 Buffalo, NY   Univ. of Buffalo Performing Arts Center ^
10/15 Harrisburg, PA  Whitaker Center^
10/23 New York, NY   CMJ Music Marathon @ Arlene’s Grocery
11/1 Ames, IA   The Maintainance Shop +
11/2 Dubuque, IA   Jansen Music Hall at Clark College+
11/14 Columbia, MO   Bluebird Music and Arts Festival

* with Robert Randolph
> with Kasey Chambers
# with Justin Townes Earle
^ with Susan Tedeschi
& with Railroad Earth
+ with Pieta Brown

2008 releases artists artists to watch for in 2009 digital downloads guitar music

Joe Pug – Nation of Heat. A thoroughly impressive debut…


Joe Pug - Nation of Heat
Joe Pug – a startling debut (photo credit: Amber Meairs)

One of the most impressive debuts of the year for me, Joe Pug‘s “Nation of Heat” EP – which was released last month – is quickly becoming my album of the year so far.

It’s not often that I’ll throw around Dylanesque comparisons, let alone twice in the space of two months. But following on from my “Month That Music Forgot” post back in May – where I featured the stunning “Tallest Man On Earth” – today’s featured artist, Joe Pug, also immediately recalls images of a young, bursting-at-the-seams Dylan. Heck, add into that hints of Woody Guthrie, Josh Ritter, and even some Springsteen. Just in case you haven’t realised it yet: I’m loving it.

The always brilliant Captain Obvious recently featured an interview with Pug, and I thoroughly suggest you go check it out to learn more, as there are some great insights into this young artist there. Just to pull out a particular quote which endeared me to him, however (emphasis my own):

Pug: Well, certainly Dylan and Prine are huge for me. They might be obvious, but I think that’s okay. Because there’s something very fundamental about both of those guys that makes them accessible, so you can go off on a tangent of your own. They taught me that a song can be original in its logic or phrasing or spirit even while its using a structure or melody that’s been around for a hundred years.

Steinbeck and Whitman are huge for me. Whitman explained once that poetry isn’t meant to confuse people. That trying to articulate your feelings as clearly as you can is cryptic enough as it is. You don’t need to fool anyone. You don’t need to prove to anybody that you know things that they don’t know. Because of course you do. So just try to say it as clearly as you can. Steinbeck, for me, embodies that ethos, whether he meant to or not. You see it most strikingly in The Grapes of Wrath when he begins that harrowing passage that begins, “And this I know…”. You’ll never read something so lucid. I suppose right now, that’s what I strive for.

Okay. So Bob Dylan? Check. John Prine? Check. John Steinbeck? Check. Walt Whitman? Check. Seriously, this kid could not check more boxes with me if he tried. And these influences are easily seen. Joe Pug can turn a phrase like nobody’s business… at only 23 years of age, his lyrics sound like they come from someone twice his age.

This is music that needs to be heard; and Joe Pug wants to help you with that. If you visit his website, you’ll be greeted with the following message:

Friends, Romans, Countrymen…

If you’re insulted by the songs they loop on the radio all day. If you’re
tired of your parents repeating the phrase “music meant something in my day” with baseless contempt. Here’s a chance to do something about it…

I want you to give my music away.

The thing is, there’s no subsidiary of Viacom shoe-horning my latest single onto radio playlists. There’s no carefully worded advertisements assaulting you at the bus-stop. There’s no ringles.

You heard about my music from a friend. Simple as that. Which means you listen to music because of its substance, not its convenience. And that’s precisely why I’m asking for your help.

Think of some likeminded friends who haven’t heard my songs. Then let me know how many sampler CDs I should send you to give to them.

So let’s help spread the word, shall we?

I’ve included three songs below; the stunning lead track, “Hymn #101“, the EP’s scathing title track, “Nation of Heat“, and finally, the deliciously titled “I Do My Father’s Drugs“. If you like them, then spread the word to your friends about Joe Pug. Let’s get him out there.

Listen. Love. Support.

Listen: Joe Pug – Nation Of Heat
Listen: Joe Pug – I Do My Father’s Drugs
Listen: Joe Pug – Hymn #101