I warmed to Joe Pug’s 2010 full-length debut “Messenger” and became an unabashed fan of the Missouri-born singer/songwriter after watching him open for Josh Ritter at Pittsburgh’s Diesel. Pug’s career hasn’t taken off like I figured it would (and firmly believe it should) but he can be counted on to deliver a first-rate indie folk record every couple years. Latest effort “Windfall” is no exception.
“The aim on this one was very straightforward,” Pug explains. “We wanted to capture the music just the way we play it, with minimal production. It was a very back to basics approach because ultimately that’s what I love about music. I wanted to record these songs the way they were written and put them out in the world.”
Over the years Pug has earned comparisons to heavyweights like Bob Dylan and John Prine, but “Windfall” also recalls contemporary influences like Ritter and Ryan Adams. The end result is the most satisfying album of his career.
Pug explodes out of the gate with keepers “Bright Beginnings” and “Veteran Fighter,” and later hits all the right notes on “Great Hosannas,” “O My Chesapeake,” “Pair of Shadows” and dynamite set closer “It Still Can’t Be Found” (featuring Wilco’s Pat Sansone). If you still haven’t discovered the music of Joe Pug, here’s a golden opportunity to do do. And if you like what you hear on “Windfall,” be sure to check him out at Pittsburgh’s Club Café (www.clubcafelive.com) on Tuesday, May 5. (Jeffrey Sisk)