The Great Despiser, the new album from celebrated singer-songwriter Joe Pug, is out now on Lightning Rod Records. Released to widespread critical acclaim, the Austin Chronicle praises, “…his songwriting continues to hone down a basic emotional reality,” while the UTNE Reader asserts, “If you don’t know up-and-coming singer-songwriter Joe Pug yet, that’s about to change with his second release.” In celebration of the album, Pug is currently in the midst of a nationwide headlining tour, including dates at Chicago’s Lincoln Hall and New York’s Bowery Ballroom. See below for complete details.
The Great Despiser is the follow-up to Pug’s critically acclaimed full-length debut, Messenger (2010), and his wildly popular word-of-mouth EP, Nation of Heat (2008). Of the music, NPR Music praises, “Not only does Chicago-based singer have a beautifully mature voice, but the lyrics on Pug’s debut EP, Nation of Heat, possess wisdom seemingly beyond his age. Pair that with his powerful songwriting and it's nearly impossible to avoid drawing comparisons between Pug and folk legends like Bob Dylan or contemporaries like Josh Ritter,” while American Songwriter heralds, “…he turns unblurred thought and crisp imagery toward more introspective territory, to good result.”
The 11-track album was recorded in Chicago with producer Brian Deck (Modest Mouse, Iron & Wine, Califone, etc). In addition to Pug, the album features various acclaimed musicians, including Sam Kassirer (Josh Ritter, Langhorne Slim) on piano, organ and marimba as well as backing vocals from The Hold Steady’s Craig Finn on the album’s title track. Since his debut in 2008, Pug has toured alongside Steve Earle, M. Ward and Josh Ritter among others and has performed at both Lollapalooza and the Newport Folk Festival.
I know about Bailiff because I heard them through the walls of a practice space I was visiting. They were working on a new song, and I ended up outside the door of their room, listening to them work out a well-crafted 5/4 drum rhythm against this tight, high guitar part that sunk straight into my memory—I was still humming it to myself three days later, no shit. I had to knock on the door and find out who they were. Turned out they hadn’t even played their first show yet. It was one of those moments.