Joe Pug Remakes His Own Early Classic
Joe Kendrick's review of the song "Nation of Heat (Revisited)" linked here on the NPR Music site #NowPlaying
If you could go back in time for a do-over, what would you do differently? In the case of singer-songwriter Joe Pug, he decided to revisit his 2008 debut EP and give it a thorough remake, adding a full band and infusing a decade and a half of life experience into songs that remain personal and fan favorites.
"Nation of Heat (Revisited)," the title track of the collection, renews its message of righteous indignation at hypocrisy and false dichotomies with three additional players in the mix. Fleshing out the original solo acoustic guitar and harmonica blueprint with swirling organ, electric guitar and drums amplifies not only the volume but also the urgency of the song's message. Throughout, Pug matches the song's weighty emotional content with a voice that resonates with wounded conviction, driving home lyrics like "Blocking borders with smiles are immigrant sons / We measure loneliness in miles and misery in tons / There's a straw-hatted man rowing away from the shore / Who says it's a shame they don't let you have slaves here anymore." In re-recording this song, Pug delivers a timeless message with just a little more heat.