“I wouldn’t want people to get the impression that I’m just this guy who sits in his room and reads the newspaper,” said singer-songwriter Joe Pug. Pug received a flurry of critical acclaim in 2008 when he released the Nation of Heat EP, a biting and heartfelt work in the tradition of early Bob Dylan. But, as Pug said, he doesn’t want to have to stick to one stereotype.
“Once I have a few records out, then I’ll be a bunch of different stereotypes,” he said. Pug plans to release a new album sometime this year that will venture into areas different from the social commentary present in the Nation of Heat EP. Regardless of the tone of his songs, however, Joe still feels that he is part of a rich folk tradition. He draws from Dylan and Graham Parsons, among others, and more recent artists, like Elliott Smith, have also heavily influenced him. But, he feels that tradition is basically unavoidable. “Even if you’re playing avant-garde, there’s a rich tradition in that,” he said.
When it comes to live shows, Pug feels that touring has really helped him develop his sound. “I’m a much better musician now,” he said. For Pug, live shows are pretty simple: “It’s just me and my guitar.”
There is also an extra dimension to his performances. He wanted to emphasize that there is a definite relationship between the artist and the audience, and that the success of a show is dependent upon the audience. “It depends on whatever energy or focus they bring to the show,” he said while also still stressing that a connection can only occur, “if the artist is paying attention.”
On touring, Pug feels he made the right choice in diving into the world of music, but he has also realized that it is a lot of work. “Sometimes you feel a little bit over your head, but it’s good, and it makes you work harder,” he said. Joe Pug and Horse Feathers will play the Canopy Club on Sunday, May 3, with special guests My Dear Alan Andrews. The show starts at 9 p.m. and tickets are $8 in advance.

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