Concert Preview: Joe Pug – Congress Theater – January 28, 2012


Sometimes a musician bursts onto the scene and they take you back in history to a time that was so influential that it’s hard not to make comparisons. Joe Pug is that type of musician. “He’s like a young Bob Dylan” were the first words I wrote about the singer a couple years ago. As he was playing in the Chicago scene, I was able to catch him opening for Rhett Miller of The Old 97s at a local bar in Berwyn, a short ways outside the downtown area of Chicago. Watching him solo on the stage with a harmonica and acoustic guitar to having a full backing band him, Pug’s growth as a musician has been amazing. He is not only a talented guitar and harmonica player, but his use of lyrics to weave truths that are often not openly acknowledged are the key component that always keep me in awe. “I undressed someone’s daughters and then complained about her looks,” a line from the song “Not So Sure” off of Joe’s latest release Messenger, is one of the most honest lyrics I have heard in a long time. The majority of his lyrics share the same intimate feel.


Joe is on the lineup to play this years Chicago Bluegrass and Blues Fest on January 28 at the Congress Theater. He is a must see if you are already planning on attending the fest and for those still on the fence it is worth the reasonable fee of $35 to see Joe yet alone all the other great bands on the bill.