HearYa Live Session 21: Joe Pug gives y’all 7 exclusive tracks

by That Guy on June 19, 2008

Joe Pug

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.

Joe Pug Session

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.

Joe Pug and Band

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 nationofheat@gmail.com with your name and address and how many CDs you want. Enjoy the show below.

Website | MySpace

Exclusive: Joe Pug – Not So Sure

Exclusive: Joe Pug – Call It What You Will

Exclusive: Joe Pug – Grievous Angel

Exclusive: Joe Pug – At An Arms Length

Exclusive: Joe Pug – First Time I Saw You

Exclusive: Joe Pug – Nation of Heat

Exclusive: Joe Pug – Hymn 101

Browse through the live session archive and stay tuned for upcoming sessions from Langhorne Slim, The Explorers Club, The Morning Benders, and more.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

oz June 20, 2008 at 9:28 am

Wow. I’ve been addicted to the EP and now I can’t wait to hear more unreleased stuff. It’s great to hear the pedal steel and a full band accompanying him – sounds like they’ve been playing together for years.

I love the Sadies, but Joe Pug may just steal the show tonight. Nice work Shirk. This session is on repeat for me all day today.

Woody June 22, 2008 at 12:13 pm

I’ve been listening to Oz rattle on about this guy for over a month, and while his EP is enjoyable, I never really had the same reaction that he had. This however, we are seeing eye to eye on. The addition of Rocco and Quinn have taken his songs to a whole new level.

cap June 22, 2008 at 9:49 pm

you guys are doing a great thing here. this joe pug session is particularly amazing. especially this gram parsons cover.

brendan June 23, 2008 at 3:34 pm

this guy is amazing. great work shirk and co!

Brian June 27, 2008 at 1:02 pm

Joe is a friend of a friend of mine, and said friend made me listen to him about a year ago. The first time I heard him I turned to her and said, “Why isn’t he famous yet?”

Joe is awesome, and this recording rocks. Thank you!

MARCIA JEAN December 23, 2008 at 8:00 pm

I’VE SEEN THIS YOUNG MAN LIVE AND I HAVE HIS FIRST RECORDING AS WELL . I WOULDN’T TRADE EITHER EXPERIENCE FOR THE FULLER MORE COMMERCIAL SOUND . IT WOULD BE LIKE CLIPPING AN ANGELS WINGS .NOT TO SAY THAT THE OTHER MUSICIANS AREN’T TALENTED AS WELL . BUT THEIRS SOMETHING SO PURE ABOUT JOE THAT IT WARMS MY HEART .WHEN YOU CANT IMPROVE SOMETHING LEAVE IT ALONE FOR HEAVENS SAKE . JOE IS THE BEAUTIFUL WHISPER IN A WORLD FULL OF SCREAMERS . SOME OF THEM WERE ONCE SPIRIT WHISPERERS AS WELL TILL THEY TRIED TO PLEASE DEEP POCKETS WITHOUT EARS AND NOW FIND THEMSELVES YELLING INSTEAD OF SINGING ,JUST TO BE HEARD OVER ALL THE NOISE .THANKS JOE . BE THE MAGIC. MY FRIEND . YOU ARE THE PIED PIPER . LEAD ON !!!

Shirk December 26, 2008 at 10:08 am

Who’s trying to make Joe more commercial? Any blogger, producer, manager, agent, label rep or A&R person who wants to steer his sound in the “commercial” direction would be seriously guilty of missing the point. Joe needs to sound like Joe for it to work. He’s not a commercial guy, he’s a REAL guy and he writes/plays REAL music.

From what I know about Joe, he’s the kind of guy that will have no trouble staying true to himself.

Marcia, thanks for posting here about the music that you obviously love so much. You are not alone… and I’ll be sure to pass your enthusiasm along to Joe.

Vanessa December 26, 2008 at 9:41 pm

I understand it’s a work in progress, but why hasn’t Joe been listed on your SXSW ’09 list?

oz December 29, 2008 at 8:16 am

Oversight on my part, Vanessa. Thanks for the reminder.

jonder May 19, 2009 at 9:17 am

I looked up Joe Pug because he is opening for Steve Earle next month in Atlanta. Thanks for these songs!

CJensen June 23, 2009 at 8:43 pm

Just saw Joe Pug open for Steve Earle in Dallas. Awesome on all accounts.

John June 29, 2009 at 4:59 am

I am so excited to hear Joe Pug continue to develop as a writer. I can’t wait to hear what’s next.

On a side note (though a note no less important), who are the players in band he’s touring with?

Tina Moore October 22, 2009 at 3:38 pm

Marcia Jean…….. YOU HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD!!!! YOU TOTALLY SAID EXACTLY WHAT I WAS THINKING!! MY HUBBY & I WERE FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO SEE JOE IN CINCINNATI WITH STEVE EARLE……….WE WERE IN AWE OF JOE. HE WAS MORE THAN JUST A SINGER SONGWRITER, HE JUST BLEW EVERYONE AWAY……..WE DEFINATELY HAVE FORMED A BOND TO HIS MUSIC ,THE WAY WE HEARD IT! HE IS AN AWESOME PERSON,PERFORMER, & FRIEND TO ALL HIS FANS! WE LOVE YOU JOE!….. STAY TRUE TO YOU……
TONY & TINA MOORE

tony Spagnuolo March 28, 2010 at 2:30 pm

just heard your music and interview w/ Bob Edwards this aft’
fantastic story telling! 1st time I saw you tugs at my passions
Great music; this is a nation of heat!
long may you run! I am sending you on to my friends…
and disguised as someone else is a wish of my own.
~ come east to the Providence/Boston area?

Ruprecht March 13, 2011 at 3:24 am

Is this guy still around?? Awesome if he is.

Dan September 21, 2012 at 10:36 am

Is there still a way to download Joe Pug’s session #21? Thanks. This is really fantastic music.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: