Sometimes I find myself sitting in Shirk’s studio, feeling like a no-talent assclown, wondering what I did to deserve to be in the presence of such incredible musicians. When Joe Pug came through the studio a couple weeks ago I was wondering the same thing, but I was standing instead of sitting. In fact, I don’t think I sat down once through the 7-song session. Didn’t want to. Just like Steven Tylersmith sang, I didn’t want to miss a thing. Joe Pug was that good.
I rolled into the studio with a fresh twelve-pack of frosty cold Miller Lites for the band and introduced myself to Joe Pug and the rest of the group: Jeremy Miller on bass, old HearYa friend Rocco Labriola on pedal steel, and a young lady with the voice of an angel that introduced herself as Quinn. Considering how talented he is, Joe couldn’t have been a friendlier, more humble guy.
After some quick tune-ups, Joe Pug was off and ambling through an epic 7-song set, which has to be some sort of indie music blog world record. As I cracked my first beer, I had no idea what a treat we were in for. I was pretty familiar with Joe from the acoustic numbers on his Nation of Heat EP. But tonight he would substitute the acoustic guitar for an electric on most songs, which, coupled with the pedal steel, bass, and backing vox, gave each song a deep, full, emotional feel. After hearing the entire set, Joe Pug exceeded even my lofty expectations. This is a guy that wrings his heart out on each and every song. His lyrics often portray a world that’ll leave your gut wrenched and your ego battered. But Joe Pug is the type of guy that rubs dirt on those wounds, picks up his trusty axe, and grinds out a song. The workmanlike, blue-collar feel of his songs are an extension of a persona you just can’t fake.
He rolled up his sleeves and really delivered the goods for the HearYa nation on this session – not only did he lay down 3 phenomenal tracks off of the Nation of Heat EP, but he sprinkled in an outstanding cover of Gram Parson’s “Grievous Angel,” and played 3 other previously unreleased tracks. And for all you “Hymn 101″ fans – he absolutely nailed it, like Greg Lougainis off the super high dive in the ’84 Olympics.
For those of you in the Chicagoland area, Joe is playing TONIGHT (June 20th) at Schubas with the Sadies. He’s also coming to LA to play the Hotel Cafƒ© on Monday (June 23rd). Get there.
For those of you that can’t get out to see him live, Joe is also giving away FREE sampler CDs that you can give to your clueless friends. Just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and address and how many CDs you want. Enjoy the show below.
Browse through the live session archive and stay tuned for upcoming sessions from Langhorne Slim, The Explorers Club, The Morning Benders, and more.