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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.

Joe Kendrick grew up far off in the woods at in rural Stanfield, NC, where he acquired his first Sony Walkman, listened to both AM and FM radio from Charlotte, went to Nascar races at Charlotte Motor Speedway, attended a small Baptist church, read Rolling Stone, subscribed to cassette clubs, and played one very forgettable season of high school football. From there, Joe studied Journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was able to fulfill his dream of being a disc jockey at WXYC. He volunteered at WNCW soon after graduation.