Late in the show, still full of energy
In March, I heard Joe Pug’s “Hymn 101” on NPR’s Second Stage podcast, and found myself scrambling for the computer to find out everything I could about the 23-year-old who could write lyrics like that, lyrics that made me nostalgic and humble and happy and sad all at the same time. I bought his first EP, then acquired his second EP when he released it, and, per his instructions on his website, wrote to him for a couple of free sampler CDs so I could pass them out to friends. They arrived in an envelope with his personal home return address sticker on the top, with a short handwritten note inside thanking me for listening.
I finally got to see him live at The Hotel Utah Saloon in San Francisco, a tiny, tiny venue where my friend Anita and I stood at his feet while he played a powerful solo set. We even got to meet him afterward. With his first full-length album due out in January or February, I suspect he will not be playing venues of this size much longer. And I fully expect to be able to say I was listening to him before he was unbelievably famous.