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No Average Joe: Welcome to Mr. Pug's Nation of Heat

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Photos by Amber Meairs via Joe Pug's MySpace

The story goes like this: When Joe Pug was a junior studying playwriting at the University of North Carolina he had an two sequential epiphanies. He decided that he was unhappy in his studies, and he wanted to pursue a career as a musician. So he picked up his things, packed up his car, and headed for Chicago. Three years later, Joe Pug has released his first EP Nation of Heat upon the world, and we are all thrilled he made such a bold choice.

The essence of any good singer/songwriter are the lyrics. With just an acoustic guitar and occasionally a harmonica, the singer/songwriter's voice is stripped bare to his audience. As listeners we are forced to examine every syllable that is uttered, so they better be good. There is no bass beat or synthesizer or distorted guitars to cover up dumb lyrics here. You can't get away with repeating the same lines over and over, either. Which is why when someone writes well people sit up and notice. When people write beautifully...people show up in droves.

Joe Pug writes beautifully, the kind of lyrics you want to write down on the back of your arm and spout prophetically and unattributed as your own. When I saw him in Waukegan, the hair on the back of my neck stood up on end with delight, and you can check your own arms for goosebumps on Thursday at Hotel Cafe. Joe Pug was kind enough to talk to us this weekend. Here is some of what was said.

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Joe Pug - I Do My Father's Drugs