Indie folk/Americana musician Joe Pug turned in two remarkable records in 2010 and 2012 (Messenger and The Great Despiser, respectively), and subsequently went about almost driving himself mad in an effort to promote them.
Starting with his 2010 debut, he spent the majority of the next four years criss-crossing the globe, playing hole-in-the-wall clubs and opening for his musical idol, singer-songwriter Steve Earle. The music brought him to the attention of promoters, talent bookers and influential critics. More importantly, it helped him win over new fans all across the world.
But by the end of 2013, Pug was so exhausted, it also nearly drove him to quit music. He took a much-needed break– much longer than he’d anticipated– and eventually started writing again. The result is Windfall, a beautifully melancholic record with shades of optimism that’s just as satisfying as his first two efforts.
With a March release date, Pug has already been on the road for the past few weeks, sharing the stage with The Devil Makes Three. Once again, he plans to stay on tour for much of the year. He took some time out of his busy tour schedule recently to talk with us about the new record.
You just played Philly, my hometown, with The Devil Makes Three last night. This tour is just starting, right? Any idea what to anticipate from it?
Right now we’re nearing the end of our tour with The Devil Makes Three. It’s been great, because they have a really engaged audience.
You played an incredible amount of shows after the last record came out. I read somewhere that you had almost had enough of the touring lifestyle by the end of 2013. Did you ever think about calling it quits?
Yeah, I came pretty close to calling it quits after finishing the tour for the last album. I was in a place where I was not appreciating how special it is to travel the country and play music for people. But once I got a little perspective, I fell in love with it again.
Was it tough to get back into the mindset of writing and eventually recording a new album last year? Was there ever a period when you just put the guitar down for a while?
I’m always in the writing mindset… or at least I try to be. Otherwise, writing can become a joyless chore.
On the surface, some of these songs sound a little melancholy. But, after really listening to the lyrics, there seems to be more optimism there. Is there a general theme to the songs on Windfall, or am I reading too much into this?
I named the album Windfall because sometimes just stepping back from your life and seeing what you actually have can feel like you’re gaining everything in the world. That’s what I was going through when I was writing the album, and that ended up being the common theme.
As you are just starting out on a whole new year of touring, how do you plan to keep sane this time around? Are you limiting the total amount of time you’re on the road?
We’ll be doing the same amount of touring behind this album. The more you tour, though, the more you learn to keep yourself sane by getting more sleep, eating healthier food, and trying to keep the beer intake in check.
What’s next for you after the tour with The Devil Makes Three?
We’re going to release a new album in March and then do our own headlining tour behind it.
Those are all the questions I have. Anything else you want to cover?
Thanks for listening to the music! Hope to see you next time we’re in Philly. –John B. Moore
Pre-order Pug’s new album here.
Joe Pug’s 2015 Tour Dates
3/6/15 in Gruene, TX at Gruene Hall
3/14/15 in Norman, OK at Pools
3/16/15 in Albuquerque, NM at Low Spirits
3/17/15 in Phoenix, AZ at Valley Bar
3/18/15 in San Diego, CA at The Casbah
3/19/15 in Los Angeles, CA at Echo
3/20/15 in San Francisco, CA at The Independent
3/28/14 in Portland, OR at the Aladdin Theatre
3/29/15 in Spokane, WA at The Bartlett
3/30/15 in Missoula, MT at The Top Hat
4/1/15 in Salt Lake City, UT at The State Room
4/3/15 in Denver, CO at The Bluebird
4/4/15 in Kansas City, MO at The Record Bar
4/7/15 in St. Louis, MO at The Firebird
4/9/15 in St. Paul, MN at The Turf Club
4/10/15 in Madison, WI at High Noon Saloon
4/11/15 in Chicago, IL at The Vic Theatre
4/22/15 in Indianapolis, IN at HIFI
4/23/15 in Nashville, TN at The High Watt
4/24/15 in Carrboro, NC at The Cat’s Cradle
4/25/15 in Asheville, NC at The Grey Eagle
4/26/15 in Charlottesville, VA at The Southern
4/29/15 in Philadelphia, PA at Boot and Saddle
4/30/15 in Boston, MA at Brighton Music Hall
5/1/15 in New York, NY at The Bowery Ballroom
5/2/15 in Washington, DC at 9:30 Club
5/3/15 in Charleston, WV at Mountain Stage
5/5/15 in Pittsburgh, PA at Club Café
5/6/15 in Cleveland, OH at The Beachland Tavern
5/7/15 in Buffalo, NY at The Ninth Ward
5/9/15 in Ann Arbor, MI at The Blind Pig
5/10/15 in Columbus, OH at The Basement
5/13/15 in Fayetteville, AR at George’s Majestic
5/14/15 in Dallas, TX at Club Dada
5/15/15 in Houston, TX at Fitzgerald’s
5/16/15 in Austin, TX at Red 7