NEW HORIZON: Joe Pug is a constant visitor to Australia, but Sunday’s show at The Edwards will be his Newcastle debut.AMERICAN musician Joe Pug once pushed himself on the road to the point of mental,physical and emotionalexhaustion.
Like his folk and country heroes Bob Dylan, Steve Earle and John Hiatt, Pug is a born troubadour. The sound of wheels rolling on the highway are as constant as the strumming of hisacoustic guitar.
But by 2014 the miles had worn him down. Pug contemplated quitting music, but instead found a balance which delivered personal happiness and inspiredhis third and most recent album, 2015’s Windfall.
Since then Pug has gotten married, welcomeda 10-month-old son and left Austin inTexas and set up home closer to family in Washington DC.These developments contributed to a more satisfying touring regime.
“I was a little bit worried abut the musician’s lifestyle and being a parent, but you have a lot of time to spend with your kid because when everyone goes to work I’m at homegetting up with him and the show isn’t until late at night,” Pug says.
Joe Pug – Hymn #101“I found the sweet spot with playing a certain number of shows in a year. I just really enjoy playing again and I’ve built up by it. I think around 80 to 100 shows per year is the sweet spot.”
Since bursting onto the scene in 2008 with the powerful Nation Of Heat EP, which takes inspiration from Greenwich Village-era Dylan, Pug has intriguedcritics and fans with his poetic wordplay. American literary giants like Walt Whitman and John Steinbeck are among his biggest influences.
Yet Pug admits finding that magic dust to write the next albumhas been difficult.
Joe PugNation Of Heat by shipping 15,000 free two-song samplers to various towns before he toured there.
The efforts paid dividends. Pug would roll into towns he’d never played and already havepeople well-versed in his music.
These days Pug uses cheaper means of self-promotion. This includeshis monthly The Working Songwriter podcast where he has interviewed the likes of Robert Ellis, Hayes Carll and Kasey Chambers.
“That’s helped me a lot with touring without an album because people can follow that show and they know when I’m coming to town,” Pug says.“It’s great because I’m not as tied to the album cycle as I used to be.”
Courtney Marie Andrews – Put The Fire OutOn his latest Australian tour Pug is joined by Seattle’s rising folk artistCourtney Marie Andrews. Seven years ago Andrews toured Australia as a back-up singer forUS rockers Jimmy Eat World, but she’s become a star in herown right due to hercritically-acclaimed thirdrecord Honest Life.
The album debuted No.1 on the US Americana chart last year and led to a performance in April on esteemed UK music showLater…with Jools Holland.
Joe Pug and Courtney Marie Andrews perform on Sunday at The Edwards.