The Working Songwriter
By Joe Pug
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Joe Pug hosts a monthly conversation with one of today's best songwriters.
||CleanCourtney Marie Andrews||The acclaimed songwriter from Phoenix talks about touring as a backup musician, producing her own breakout album, and her love of the road.||11/30/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanBirds of Chicago||The husband and wife folk/soul duo now residing in Nashville talk vocal maintenance, plumbing subconscious depths for material, and learning to tour smart.||10/26/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitIan Mackaye||The founding member of Minor Threat, Fugazi, and Dischord records sits down to talk about the mild "writer's block" that parenthood can usher in, the reality of not being able to control people's interpretation of songs once they're released, and the...||9/28/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanJohn Moreland||The Tulsa troubadour describes his transition from hardcore music to folk, how to put on a compelling live show solo, and staying inspired even when the creative process is painful.||8/31/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||Explicit"Music Modernization Act" Emergency Episode||The "Music Modernization Act", which has enormous consequences for how songwriters and copyright holders will be compensated for streaming music, passed the US House of Reps unanimously but is now hamstrung in the Senate due to an eleventh hour change..||8/1/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanHiss Golden Messenger||MC Taylor is the songwriter behind this Durham-based outfit. He talks about finding his writing voice over the course of several different projects, working with a long-time collaborator, and developing less encumbered music listening...||7/27/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanLee Ann Womack||One of Nashville's favorite daughters, by way of Jacksonville Texas, discusses arriving for writing appointments with children in tow, finding song inspiration in everyday conversation, and dealing with the success of an international...||6/29/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitTrampled By Turtles||Dave Simonett, songwriter and founding member of the Minnesota bluegrass powerhouse TBT, talks about the mania of touring in your 20s, keeping a band together through the power of respect, and techniques he uses to keep himself inspired.||5/25/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanBrian Koppelman||The screenwriter, essayist, and former A&R man speaks about changing careers with a young family, the need to protect a fledgling project from outside influence, and the discipline of creating.||4/27/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitGregory Alan Isakov||The Colorado wordsmith remembers stuffing the cardboard sleeves of his first demo himself, putting off school on a lark to tour with Kelly Joe Phelps, and the joy of sharing the journey with his longtime band.||4/4/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanJohn Paul White||As a staff writer for EMI, a member of The Civil Wars, and now the owner of his own independent label, he’s seen a lot. John Paul White stops by to share his wisdom on creativity and performance. Plus, Brendan Anthony- the head of the...||2/23/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe Killers||Brandon Flowers discusses a meteoric rise to prominence in his early 20s, the feeling of responsibility that he's developed toward music, and writing songs on the dodgy upright piano in his house instead of the baby grand in his studio.||1/26/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitLydia Loveless||The Ohio native discusses her passion for classic country, capturing the vitality of live performance on a record, and her habit of constantly collecting material for writing.||12/29/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanMandolin Orange||This lyric-driven Bluegrass outfit discusses the perils of booking their own shows, signing with Yep Roc, and the art of arranging a band around great songs.||11/24/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitSteve Earle||The hardcore troubadour talks about his early days in Nashville as a staff writer, empathy as the essential goal of the songwriter, and gratitude for the job he loves.||10/27/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitJosh Ritter||The troubadour from Idaho discusses getting his break in Ireland, early years of van touring in the States, and writing on an empty stomach.||9/28/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanPat Sansone||The creative force behind The Autumn Defense and a longtime member of Wilco discusses growing up in a musical household, playing punk bars in the American south, and locking himself in the studio to get a song finished.||8/25/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitShakey Graves||Born and raised in Austin Texas, Alejandro Rose-Garcia is an internationally celebrated songwriter and performer. He sits down to discuss his upbringing in a theatrical household, learning to record on a shoestring, and walking away from a...||8/4/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitMatthew Logan Vasquez||The frontman for Delta Spirit and now a formidable solo artist talks about playing music in the church, pulling a full "Tony Clifton" at the Casbah in San Diego, and how fatherhood has informed his latest album.||6/30/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitRobert Ellis||The Texas songwriter and bandleader discusses dropping out of high school to play music, his passion for idiosyncrasy when it comes to band members, and his regimented writing process.||5/22/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitHeartless Bastards||Erika Wennerstrom, the creative force behind Heartless Bastards, discusses growing up in Dayton Ohio, signing to Fat Possum Records, and her techniques for bringing a song to life.||4/28/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitNoah Gundersen||The Seattle-based songwriter talks about holding down dead-end jobs to continue playing music, the myth of the flighty artist, and the process for composing his upcoming album.||3/31/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitStrand of Oaks||Timothy Showalter, the leader of this Philadelphia psych-rock-folk project, sits down to talk about growing up in small-town Indiana, how the radio shaped his sound, and learning how to maintain a private and public persona.||2/24/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitSara Watkins||The southern California native reflects on her prolific career in bluegrass and beyond, with groups such as Nickel Creek, I'm With Her, and The Watkins Family Hour.||1/27/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitHorse Feathers||The leader of this chamber folk group, Justin Ringle, talks about learning to love Spotify, touring for the first time, and how he uses the studio to augment his writing process.||12/30/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitAmerican Aquarium||The force behind American Aquarium, BJ Barham, discusses growing up in Lucky Strike's company town, being accepted by the Texas Red Dirt community, and how to keep a band on the road for a decade.||11/25/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitKasey Chambers||The Queen of Australian Country Music discusses her childhood in the outback, a Lucinda Williams concert that changed her life, and the tipping point of composing a song.||10/28/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitHayes Carll||The laid-back writer of modern country gems such "Beaumont", "Chances Are" and, of course, "She Left Me For Jesus" joins the show to talk about sitting at the feet of Guy Clark, picking up merch from Beyonce's dad, and steering the direction of his...||9/30/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitBruce Robison||This native Texan is the writer of #1 country music hits for Tim McGraw, The Dixie Chicks, and George Strait. He sat down to talk about the art of writing without an agenda, the Texas-Nashville connection, and his love for analog recording.||8/26/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitRobbie Fulks||A linchpin in Chicago's vibrant folk and country for decades, Robbie reflects on the major label blues, recording techniques, and falling in love with music for the first time.||7/29/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitTift Merritt||The Grammy-nominated songwriter from Raleigh, North Carolina reflects on her time in the studio and out on the road.||6/24/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitSlaid Cleaves||Originally from South Berwick Maine, the legendary songwriter has lived in Texas for the last couple decades. He reflects on getting his start engineering sound at The Cactus Cafe and learning from music producer Gurf Morlix.||5/27/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitAnais Mitchell||The Vermont-born songsmith reflects on signing to Righteous Babe, writing her celebrated folk opera "Hadestown", and parenthood as a working artist.||4/29/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanJames McMurtry||An hourlong conversation with celebrated songwriter, James McMurtry.||3/25/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitJoe Ely||The Texas icon inaugurates our show with a few stories from his many years on the road.||12/28/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
A welcome voice
Fantastic first episode. The show promises to be full of insight and humor. It is also a beautiful historical record. Joe Pug is a soft-spoken host and the mutual respect between his guest and him is clear. I eagerly await more episodes.
Can’t wait for more...
Pug’s interview with Ely isn’t just an awesome first first episode, it’s an awesome episode in general. Instead of sounding like a rote NPR interview, it feels like you’re just hanging out with two friends who happen to also be amazing songwriters. Can’t wait to hear more.
I’m not a songwriter, but I love to hear how they think. Joe asks good questions. I really look forward to following this podcast!