Okay, so I admit that I completely skipped out on the opening act of the Josh Ritter show at the Beachland a few weeks back (cool summer breezes, grilled brats, and beer > half-filled dark room listening to some unknown musician(s)). As it turns out, the act was Joe Pug. Fast forward to last week, when I stumbled upon a show occurring tomorrow at The Grog Shop. What caught my eye and what I found somewhat bizarre, was that The Low Anthem, who released what may be my favorite album this year Oh My God, Charlie Darwin, was the opening act for... wait for it... Joe Pug. Granted, my musical opinion ranks right up there with others as much as my one year old niece's (probably less, actually), but it still gave me pause. First off, who is this guy? Second, why does he tour Cleveland more often than Michael Stanley?
So, I checked him out. My humble opinion? Probably worth a shot. As has become a cliched standard, it's evident that he was strongly influenced by Bob Dylan (not that that's a bad thing); Lovely acoustic melodies topped like a thick frosting with Mr. Pug's plaintive wails. I do have to say I occasionally cringe at the nasally twang that somehow catches in his throat and results in a sort of 'could definitely use some Afrin' sound. But the lyricism is smart and the emotion sounds real. Anyway, long story somewhat shorter, Low Anthem will be the belles of the ball in the long run, and Mr. Pug, though talented, may yet have to go back to his day job as a carpenter.
But, you don't have to take my word for it... (thanks, Levar)
The Low Anthem - "To Ohio"
Joe Pug - "Hymn 101"