Joe Pug – Nation of Heat EP

by oz on May 6, 2008

Joe Pug

Not too long ago Drinking Buddy wrote about Pete Molinari, wondering if he was the second coming of Bob Dylan. I appreciated the comparison. It seems that Dylan references abound on this site, recently for bands like Leatherbag and The Felice Brothers, but there will never be another Dylan. I’m just not sure if any musician will ever be that prolific again. Chicago’s Joe Pug shows some serious promise on his debut album, Nation of Heat.

There will never be another Dylan just like there’ll never be another Springsteen, but their influence and spirit will live and breathe in other musician storytellers that can pluck a guitar string, blow into a harmonica, and write songs that have something interesting to say. Which brings me to Joe Pug, straight from the loins of Dylan and The Boss (sorry, I just had a baby so now every artist has to be the child of two other male musicians for some reason).

Joe is a Chicago carpenter and songwriter. He just released an EP called Nation of Heat that had an immediate impact on me. Listening to this album is like waking up on Sunday morning, slipping into a tattered pair of jeans and an old t-shirt. The album is a possession that can become your friend. Kind of like Jack Daniels.

I found it hard to make it past the first track, “Hymn 101,” just because it is so damn good. After taking that song off repeat and listening to the rest of Nation of Heat, I knew I’d be addicted. Here I am, almost a week later, and the album has still not left my player. It will be one of the best EP’s of 2008.

Rocco Labriola, formerly pedal steel/lead guitar in the now defunct Cracklin Moth, is playing with Joe Pug so I’d recommend checking them out around the local Chicago circuit.

MySpace | Website

Joe Pug – Hymn 101

Joe Pug – Call It What You Will

Joe Pug – “Hymn 101”


Joe Pug – “Speak Plainly Diana”


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Adrian May 7, 2008 at 10:16 am

“Call it What you Will” is a decent song but “Hymn 101” is magnificent. Wow.

Drinking Buddy May 7, 2008 at 3:29 pm

Hymn 101 is strong to quite strong. Nice find.

Would love to hear Rocco’s pedal steel incorporated into some Joe Pug studio tracks.

oz May 7, 2008 at 3:43 pm

A joe pug hearya live session is being scheduled as we speak, so you may just get your wish, buddy that drinks lightly.

Michelle November 14, 2008 at 2:23 pm

I saw Joe just 13 days ago, and I loved him. Yeah maybe his music is basic and simple but I could care less. He sings with such realism and depth. When he played his harmonica it really got to me, and I had to fight tears – it was so beautiful and lonesome. He gave away one of his Nation of Heat EP’s to a kid who didn’t have enough money to pay for one. “It’s on the house.” I wish all Americans were as true as he is. A wonderful find!

oz November 14, 2008 at 10:44 pm

By simple, I just mean that it’s stripped down with no band. As a songwriter, I think he’s brilliant.

Glad you were able to catch him live.

Schaef December 31, 2008 at 1:19 am

I just saw Joe Pug open for Blues Traveler at Chicago’s House of Blues. He’s a very talented dude with a fun-loving personality. Joe broke the G string on his guitar ten seconds into his first song – Nation of Heat – and randomly chose a volunteer out of the audience to re-string it. Pretty funny stuff. He ended up breaking a different string on his main shortly after picking it back up, but luckily the backup held well. From early in his set he sold me. Keep it up, Joe!

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