For a guy who has yet to record a full-length record and performs in a bare-bones folk troubadour fashion, 23-year-old Chicagoan Joe Pug certainly has a lot of buzz around him. A former aspiring playwright at UNC-Chapel Hill, Pug moved to Chicago about three years ago and started blowing audiences away at open mic nights with his jaw-droppingly good songs and fully-developed, mature musical presence. The singer/songwriter clearly evokes the early coffeehouse Dylan of the 1960s, but to simply cast him as a copycat is to miss out on a performer that compares favorably, and with lyrical compositions that surpass, such contemporaries as Ryan Adams, Josh Ritter and Cory Branan. Like Dylan, Pug has an effusive, poetic lyrical style that seems to tumble out in fully-formed vignettes. The political and the personal run in and out of his 7-song EP Nation of Heat flawlessly, from the heartfelt opening manifesto “Hymn #101” to the wailing closing lament “Nation of Heat.” One likely needs no further endorsement than the artists he has opened for — including Steve Earle, M. Ward, Susan Tedeschi and Robert Randolph, to name a few. I promise that sooner or later you will come to know and love the songs of Joe Pug — and you’ll wish you discovered him sooner.
Joe Pug – “Bury Me Far From My Uniform”