Wednesday, February 10, 2010

CD Review: Joe Pug - Messenger

A couple years back I received an EP from an artist I’d never heard of and enjoyed the heck out of it, particularly the tune, Hymn #101. Passed the EP along to many others as well who had the same opinion. The artist was Joe Pug and the EP, Nation of Heat. I particularly liked the tune Hymn #101. Since then I’ve been able to hear additional songs from his Daytrotter session; but now I’m excited to announce that he is releasing a full-blown CD, Messenger on February 16th. And it exceeds all expectations.

Pug is based out of Chicago, and left the University of North Carolina his senior year in order to pursue the “easy and comfortable” life as an unknown singer songwriter. Quite a gamble. He worked as a carpenter by day and performed at night. His playwright education proved useful when he re-arranged a play he was drafting into the lyrics of Nation of Heat. He then sent out over 15,000 free 2 CD samplers of the EP. The vibe was building. That was when we received a copy.

And this week we received an advance copy of Messenger. It starts out with the title track and immediately the sound and vocals are fuller than his previous work and a bit more Americana - a Langhorne Slim feel. Helps to have a backing band as well, with some pedal steel and rhythm sections sprinkled throughout the compilation. How Good You Are displays Pug’s story telling ability and resembles more of his previous work. That’s what I like about the CD – some new some old. My favorite tracks were Not So Sure and The Door Is Always Open – both played in two completely different styles. Shows the versatility of the artist. The other tracks are just as good; I’ve already listened to this CD a dozen times and it never gets old. Messenger is highly recommended. Pug is also currently touring with Justin Townes Earle supporting the CD; two fabulous artists in one show. If they are playing near a town near you - go see them; if not – the CD is a good substitute.

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