joe pug

Somehow it feels longer than four years since Joe releases an album. Yet after listening to the first two tracks, our first session with Joe back in 2008 feels like it was yesterday. He’s one of the best songwriters around and I’m happy that he’s got a new album coming out in two weeks. Here’s some info from the PR team.

Joe Pug’s new record “The Flood In Color” is nearly four years in the making. But that betrays the fact that the making of the album was one of the most natural and rewarding processes of his career. Produced by Kenneth Pattengale of the Milk Carton Kids and engineered by Matt Ross-Spang , the album started with the goal of focusing on the simplicity of musicians playing together, live, in the same room. Recently relocating back to his childhood home in Prince Georges County, Maryland after many years spent in Chicago and Austin, Pug wanted take a new approach. The partnership with Pattengale proved to be an irresistible opportunity to do just that.

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Joe Pug is here



What better way to start the new year than a new tune from HearYa fave, Joe Pug. If Still It Can’t Be Found is the first tune from Joe’s third LP, Windfall. Windfall will see be released by the fine folks at Lightning Rod Records and will be out this Spring. Long-time readers of HearYa know of our love of Joe’s music. Our very own, Stephen Shirk produced Joe’s first LP and we’ve done two HearYa sessions with Joe. Needless to say we’re looking forward to this one. Here’s some info from the PR.

The first single from the forthcoming release is the album-closing stunner, “If Still It Can’t Be Found” which features Pat Sansone of Wilco guesting on Mellotron and premiered on Rolling Stone Country. “I’ve known Joe for a couple of years now and have been able to see his powerful live show several times,” says Sansone. “Joe has the uncanny ability to write a song that feels like it’s been there always…and “If Still It Can’t Be Found” is one of those. I was really honored when he asked me to contribute to the recording of this truly beautiful and deeply soulful song.”

The agenda on Windfall was much simpler than previous albums. “The aim on this one was very straightforward. We wanted to capture the music just the way we play it, with minimal production. It was a very back to basics approach because ultimately that’s what I love about music, and that’s what I love about making music. I wanted to record these songs the way they were written and put them out in the world.”

The result is a collection of songs that are as close as we’ve gotten to a road map to Pug’s ambitions. He has collected plenty of the requisite Dylan comparisons over his young career but on this record it’s easier to hear the sway of more contemporary influences like Josh Ritter, Ryan Adams and M.Ward.

The theme of resilience plays a central role throughout Windfall. The weary protagonist in “Veteran Fighter” wills his way further down the highway despite the gloom that seems certain to overtake him. “The Measure”, a song inspired in part by Frederic Buechner’s novel Godric, marvels at “every inch of anguish, laid out side by side” but ultimately finds that “All we’ve lost is nothing to what we’ve found.”

“I never really write songs with a specific narrative in mind,” Pug explains. “When you’re sort of pushing through a dark period of your life it’s probably inevitable that some of that is going to find its way onto the page. But in the same way, by the time we were in the studio the process had become very effortless and joyful. And hopefully you can hear a lot of that on the record as well.”

Our sessions with Joe are here and here.

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Joe Pug is here

Shirk is here

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It goes without saying that HearYa are big fans of Joe Pug. We’ve had him pay us a visit two times – here and here. Not to mention that Shirk produced his first album. He’s about as genuine guy as you’ll meet in the business, always ready with a smile. Here’s the story about the video and some tour dates.

When Joe Pug relocated from Chicago to Austin, TX in 2010 he certainly knew he was heading to a part of the country that had musical history without peer. What he didn’t know is that he’d quickly strike up a friendship with a local legend that he hadn’t even heard of at that point, Harvey “Tex” Thomas Young. Taken with the simplicity and subtlety of his work, Pug made Young’s haunting tale of redemption and perserverance “Deep Dark Wells” a staple of his live show.

It was clear pretty quickly that the audience was connecting to it on the same level as I was, and I’m qutie proud that we decided to make it the first cover song we’ve included on the album,” says Pug. “Harvey’s music may not be well known outside of Texas just yet, but hopefully whatever small exposure this version gets will bring it one step closer to its rightful inclusion in the American songbook.”

The video is as sparse and simple as the song, primarily featuring video short by Pug himself throughout his fall 2012 tour.


May 23 Boulder, CO — E-Town Hall
May 24 Denver, CO — L2 Arts and Culture Center
May 26 Black Forest, CO — Meadowgrass Festival
May 31 Iowa City, IA — Englert Theatre
June 1 Nelsonville, OH — Nelsonville Music Festival
June 2 Chicago, IL — City Winery
June 3 Chicago, IL — City Winery
June 4 Detroit, MI — The Magic Stick
June 6 St. Louis, MO — Twangfest
June 22 Chicago, IL — Beat Kitchen (SOLD OUT)
June 23 Chicago, IL — Green Music Festival
July 15 Helena, MT — Myrna Loy Center
July 18 Rapid City, SD — Main Street Square
Aug 3 Elkin, NC — Reevestock Music Festival
Aug 22-23 Fayetteville, AR — Fayatteville Roots Festi

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Joe Pug – Hymn #76 [music video]

by Woody on October 30, 2012

Joe Pug’s sophomore effort, The Great Despiser, is one of HearYa’s favorites of 2012 and Hymn #76 is one of this year’s best tracks. In typical Joe Pug bombastic style; the video includes scantily clad women, car chases and too many explosions to keep track of.

Joe will be bringing his high-tech pyrotechnic show to Lincoln Hall on Nov. 3rd. You can get tix here. If you have never seen him live, do yourself a favor and make the effort.

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Joe Pug – The Great Despiser [Album Review]

May 1, 2012

I once said that it’s hard to put a price tag on Joe Pug’s music. I received his debut EP Nation of Heat in the mail while living in Northern California, shortly after moving away from Chicago. His debut LP Messenger arrived while living in Atlanta, shortly after leaving California. And now his sophomore LP, […]

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Joe Pug, Live Session #92

August 24, 2011

Joe Pug released his first EP around the same time folks started noticing this music blog. I vividly remember the day Nation of Heat arrived by mail and how my jaw slowly dropped as I listened to Pug’s songwriting. Music blogging is a labor of love and musicians like Pug are the reason we continue […]

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Joe Pug covered Tex Thomas last night at The Earl. Tex who?

April 7, 2011

Joe Pug and Strand of Oaks played an early show at The Earl in Atlanta last night. I’d review the show, but do I really need to say more about Joe and Tim? It’s impossible not to love both of these artists and I’m proud to have been introduced to their music very early on […]

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Joe Pug and Strand of Oaks Cover Each Other’s Songs, Begin Tour

March 28, 2011

I have two special treats today. The first is an announcement that two of my favorite songwriters, Joe Pug and Strand of Oaks (aka Timothy Showalter) are embarking on a tour together. The second is that, to kick off the announcement, each artist covered a favorite song from the other. Pug chose to record “End […]

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Joe Pug covers The Low Anthem, Tom Waits [Backstage and Bootleg]

November 12, 2010

Joe Pug ended his $10 tour in Austin, TX at The Cactus Cafe on November 6th. Luckily, Aaron Wevodau was in attendance and recorded the show because it’s fantastic. Here are a few song selections, but head over here to hear/download the entire set. “Not So Sure” has become one of my favorite tracks of […]

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Joe Pug, Elvis Costello, and The Levon Helm Band perform “The Weight” in Vancouver

August 17, 2010

Joe Pug is all growed up. He’s been touring and joining the stage with the likes of Steve Earle, Josh Ritter, and most recently, The Levon Helm band and Elvis Costello (video below). Joe is endearing on stage with what I’d imagine are his idols. I’m sure it was a surreal experience. It’s been pretty […]

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