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Thursday, June 19, 2008

The oddly named Joe Pug

At times, nothing satisfies like the minimalism of a guitar, a voice and a powerful song. So many musicians will do this, and of these, we all know when they have the je ne sais quoi that makes the combination so successful. It is a vast collection of musical heavyweights and forlorn obscurities, and making oneself standout from the myriad must be daunting. It seems unfair to judge an emerging artist against Bob Dylan, or Cat Power, or the tragically sublime Elliott Smith. But it's probably necessary. It's probably unavoidable. I can't but compare when hearing a new artist. With this in mind, I was so impressed with Joe Pug. The carpenter from Chicago follows the dustbowl troubadour tradition, variously displaying the influences required of this mode: the wistful pace, the harmonica accents, the themes of heartbreak or triumph, or self-discovery. He has the voice of a chain-smoking Appalachian journeyman, and the raw guitar melodies complement this beautifully. The honest lyricism in his songs are such appropriate stories for this mode of music. I won't go on, because I'm scared to overhype. His album, Nation of Heat, is out now, and at his website he's actively asking to post his cd to you, free. In numerous quantities, if you want. Just 'cause he wants people to hear his music.

(Incidentally, when listening to the below, tell me you don't hear a young Bob Dylan doing "Mama You Been On My Mind.")

Joe Pug - Hymn #101

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