Folk Friday: Joe Pug

This is a bold statement, but I’m going on record: I have never listened to a single EP as much as I have Joe Pug’s Nation of Heat EP. According to my iTunes, I’ve listened to it at least twenty times straight through, and I’ve listened to “Hymn #101” fifty-nine times in exactly two and a half months. Consider that I listen to a new album or two a week, and this is unheard of amounts of listening.

So what’s so great about Joe Pug? Well, he’s the second coming of Bob Dylan, only better. He has all of the lyrical insight of early-stage Dylan, better folk guitar skills, and a distinct voice that is more palatable than Dylan’s rasp. He doesn’t clutter his songs with instruments; the only instruments on Nation of Heat are guitar and voice. There is nowhere for Pug to hide on his debut album.

And he doesn’t need to. From the actually meaningful protest song “I Do My Father’s Drugs” to the break-up song “Call it What You Will” to the cryptic, wonderful “Nation of Heat,” there’s not a bum moment on the album. The guitar strums, the voice cracks, the lyrics break hearts. This is folk of the highest order. If you haven’t heard “Hymn #101” or “I Do My Father’s Drugs,” you need to. It will make an impact on your life.

So, if you don’t really like the whole new-folk thing, and you want some good old protest-laden, acoustic-guitar folk, Joe Pug is your dude. And seeing as he’s 23 and just released his first EP, he’s got a long career ahead of him. Jump on the train now.

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  1. art ledbetter
    31/10/2009 at 8:36 am Permalink

    i too, share your love for pug’s music. he’s incredible. from what i’ve read in his interviews tho, you’d better get ready for a change on his next record. he’s said that it has more songs with a full band. also, he’s 25, not 23. art

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