|Joe Pug shares poetic tunes in new album and EP|
|Written by Jenny Jackowski, Daily Vidette Reporter|
|Wednesday, 02 May 2012 15:14|
Joe Pug was first recommended to me because of my love of poetry. I remember watching the video on YouTube. It was just him picking away on a guitar, eyes closed, singing words that seemed fit for a poetry slam. I was impressed. Pug’s music is poetic both in its command of language and its soothing guitar melodies. His latest album, “The Great Despiser,” was released on April 24.
This is Pug’s second full-length album. He also has an EP. “The Great Despiser” has more electric guitar elements than his other work, but is still in line with the artist’s style of guitar-driven music.
Pug’s work is comparable to a modern-day Bob Dylan. The album has a folk-rock feel with bluegrass influence. His vocal intonation is similar to the aforementioned artist.
Joe Pug used to be a carpenter after dropping out of college right before beginning his senior year. After leaving college, he moved to Chicago and returned to playing a guitar he had left behind years before.
Pug’s music circulated via his fans. At his shows, he would give away free albums if the receiver promised to pass the music on. The fans met the challenge. Now Pug’s music is available on iTunes.
The lack of other instrumentation leaves room for his lyrical content. True to the folk genre, the modal tunings give the listener a sense of contemplation. Pug’s lyrics leave room for interpretation as they are built on metaphor and story. Like the work of many poets, the meanings of the words lie deeper than the first read, or in this case, first listen.
Personally, I find that the mystery of his lyrics is the most intriguing part of his work.
The song, “Hymn #76” seems to be addressed to the lost love of the speaker. Hymns, by definition, are presented to some prominent figure, which is why the title fits the intention of the song.
My favorite songs off the album are the acoustic ones. The soulful notes and melodies match the attention to detail that Pug’s words maintain. Like I mentioned before, with less instruments, there is room for words, which is what Pug does best.
In an interview Pug did for the Seattle Weekly, he explained the title track, “The Great Despiser.”
“The title track of the album has a narrator in it. As I was writing it, he became someone who came into the world with a lot of very intense expectations. He quite expectedly became very cynical from it, and I think the song is about this person trying to finally let go of this cynicism and thereby let go of his expectations and meet the world and life on its own terms and flourish,” Pug said.
Overall, Joe Pug’s music is inspired, intentional, and thoughtful. “The Great Despiser” is a wonderful album to add to any collection.