Joe Pug performs at Newport Folk. i

Joe Pug performs at the Newport Folk Festival. Wiqan Ang hide caption

toggle caption Wiqan Ang
Joe Pug performs at Newport Folk.

Joe Pug performs at the Newport Folk Festival.

Wiqan Ang

Newport Folk Festival

Joe Pug: Newport Folk 2009

Joe Pug: Newport Folk 2009
  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/111392280/111490490" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Just short of completing his degree, Joe Pug left the University of North Carolina, where he was studying to be a playwright, to wend his way toward a career as a singer-songwriter. The erstwhile Tar Heel's words now twist their way out from between a guitar and harmonica, barely stopping for a chorus. Along the way, they paint an utterly unromantic vision of finding a place to belong.

In the title track to his first release, the Nation of Heat EP, the Chicago-based 23-year-old sings, "The spirits pay rental on the basements they haunt / And the pages just draw pictures of the things that they want / I cook my dinner on the blacktop street / I come from the nation of heat."

Pug, who works as a "terrible, terrible carpenter" by day, says Bob Dylan and John Prine are "huge" influences, but says he's also drawn to Warren Zevon and Beck, musicians who "don't really adhere to a genre; they just write songs that connect to people."

Earlier this summer, Pug played dates supporting Josh Ritter. Following his appearance at Newport, he'll play Lollapalooza and then open for another group of Newportees, The Low Anthem. Pug plans to release his first full-length album this year.

Related NPR Stories

[+] read more[-] less

More From Newport Folk Festival

Madisen Ward And The Mama Bear perform at the 2015 Newport Folk Festival. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Adam Kissick for NPR

Newport Folk Festival

Madisen Ward And The Mama Bear, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2015

The mother-and-son duo radiated easy familiarity and sincerity during this charming afternoon set.

Madisen Ward And The Mama Bear, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2015
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/429049449/434694125" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Brandi Carlile performs at the 2015 Newport Folk Festival. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Adam Kissick for NPR

Newport Folk Festival

Brandi Carlile, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2015

Hear the folk-rock powerhouse perform candid, emotional songs from The Firewatcher's Daughter.

Brandi Carlile, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2015
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/429333796/434691259" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Luluc performs at the 2015 Newport Folk Festival. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Adam Kissick for NPR

Newport Folk Festival

Luluc, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2015

An Australian duo spending time in Brooklyn makes quiet, intimate, yearning music.

Luluc, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2015
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/427188612/429080001" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Sturgill Simpson performs at the 2015 Newport Folk Festival. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Adam Kissick for NPR

Newport Folk Festival

Sturgill Simpson, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2015

Listen to the outlaw country singer's high-octane, honky-tonking set.

Sturgill Simpson, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2015
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/427719252/427796611" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Lord Huron's Ben Schneider performs live at the Newport Folk Festival. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Adam Kissick for NPR

Newport Folk Festival

Lord Huron, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2015

The Los Angeles band's Newport Folk set was jubilant and loud.

Lord Huron, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2015
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/427193739/427194962" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Courtney Barnett performs at the 2015 Newport Folk Festival. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Adam Kissick for NPR

Newport Folk Festival

Courtney Barnett, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2015

The rising Australian rock star went electric and then some this weekend at Newport.

Listen to Highlights From The Concert
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/426710883/426713214" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Jason Isbell smiles during a performance at the 2015 Newport Folk Festival. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Adam Kissick for NPR

Newport Folk Festival

Jason Isbell, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2015

Spirits were high Saturday as Isbell performed songs from his new album, Something More Than Free.

Jason Isbell, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2015
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/426505568/426556257" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

The Tallest Man On Earth performed Friday at the 2015 Newport Folk Festival. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Adam Kissick for NPR

Newport Folk Festival

The Tallest Man On Earth, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2015

Swedish songwriter Kristian Matsson gave a performance worthy of his stage name on Friday.

The Tallest Man On Earth, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2015
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/426247490/426248213" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

The Lone Bellow performed Friday night at the 2015 Newport Folk Festival. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Adam Kissick for NPR

Newport Folk Festival

The Lone Bellow, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2015

Listen to the band's soaring Friday set, featuring guest appearances by Leon Bridges and Lucius.

The Lone Bellow, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2015
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/426245527/426246074" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Back To Top