SXSW SPOTLIGHT: Joe Pug @ “Stimulus Package” Party, Paradise, 3.18.09

Text/Photos by Lizz Kannenberg

The Artist: Chicago’s stunning young balladeer can turn a beer-soaked 6th Street club into a pin drop-ready sanctuary.

His Latest Release: Nation of Heat (self-released, 2008)

The Set in a Few Sentences: Joe Pug may be a singer/songwriter, but this isn’t background music for your morning latte. The 24-year-old Pug, a former playwright, is the kind of lyricist who tells an entire life’s story in a single line. His gutsy, grainy voice and unabashedly aggressive handling of guitar and harmonica are as unapologetic and striking as those of another certain young American songwriter a generation ago.

And a Letter Grade: A

More photos and a trio of free MP3s after the jump …


Joe Pug, “Call It What You Will”


Joe Pug, “Hymn 101”


Joe Pug, “Nation of Heat”