When you hear that a musician is an "old soul," what comes to mind? Do you picture someone singing about their rambling travels? Do they tell poetic stories of the harsh roads taken and the lessons learned? Perhaps it's a callous voice that sounds as if its owner smoked a pack a day for thirty years. Maybe you think of Joe Pug (and if not, then I bet you will soon).
In 2007, when Pug was just 23 years old, a friend secretly got him into the studio in the middle of the night to record what would become Nation of Heat. The seven song EP features just Pug with his guitar, and occasionally a harmonica. It's a tried-and-true formula, following in the footsteps of Bob Dylan, and more recently the Tallest Man on Earth. But when the music has such depth, heart, and character, who really cares who sang these type of songs first?
With a raspy voice and wealth of stories, Pug's songs could just easily have come from some grizzled troubadour who's been singing folk music for decades.
The kid in Pug emerges, however, on the opening track when he sings the line "I've come to test the timber of my heart." Yes, there is still much adventure and soul-seeking to be done. And I, for one, hope he brings his guitar along with him.