I picked up Joe Pugs debut album Messenger after reading about it here on Ninebullets, where it was called “infuriatingly good” and compared to John Prine and Bob Dylan. And what an album it turned out to be. He actually was (and is) infuriatingly good, and sounded like an inspired cross of Prine and Dylan. A correct review if there ever was one…Pug has built his audience one by one by actually giving his music away for free, by sending cd-samplers far and wide. After releasing the EP Nation of Heat his first full length album Messenger came out in 2010, and I have to say that is one of the albums I’ve enjoyed the most. Songs from it still tend to turn up on my compilations for work and the car, and I’ve listened to a good number of recordings from his shows.
After hearing mostly audience tapes and watching shaky recordings from mobile cameras on YouTube the sound and crisp clarity on this album is pure joy.
Focus is naturally placed on Pugs voice, and you hang on every word he sings. He writes songs that more established songwriters would kill for, and his band is as tight as my belt after Christmas dinner.
Through the 17 songs on the album he shows us why he sells out concerts wherever he goes. And I just don’t get tired of hearing “Messenger”. Or any of the songs from that excellent Nation Of Heat.
Of the 17 songs, he plays a good selection from both Messenger and his EPs Nation Of Heat and Meantime. No new songs, but a few nice surprises anyway; mainly a song he introduces as Tex Thomas’ “Start Again”, which is for some reason is labeled “Deep Dark Wells” in the tracklist and when he comes on for the encores his support band Strand Of Oakes play “Leave Ruin”.
This is really a great snapshot of a Joe Pug show, and both fans of Joe Pug and anyone who enjoys good songwriting should do themselves a favor and check this one out!
You can get it for the insanely low price of 5 dollars at Joepugmusic.com – where you also can pick up his other releases.
Autopsy IV Note: I don’t care if this is just a live album of already released songs…It’s fucking Essential Listening. I also wanna toss out some heavy props to Mr. Pug for offering the files with a lossless option.