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The Working Songwriter

Author: Joe Pug

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Joe Pug hosts a monthly conversation with one of today's best songwriters.
47 Episodes
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Elizabeth Cook

Elizabeth Cook

2019-11-2900:57:55

This native of Wildwood Florida is known for her critically acclaimed albums, her XM radio show, and her frequent appearances at the Grand Ole Opry.  She breaks down the early years of her career and persevering through difficult times to make art.
Drew Holcomb

Drew Holcomb

2019-10-3000:54:301

The troubadour from Nashville by way of Memphis talks touring regionally to build a following, branching out and starting a vinyl subscription service, and how personal tragedy can inform one's lifelong creative aim.
Nicole Atkins

Nicole Atkins

2019-09-2701:01:45

The Nashville via New Jersey vocalist and songwriter discusses the turn of the century anti-folk scene in NYC, her major label debut being derailed by legendary producer Rick Rubin, and sobriety.
The Milk Carton Kids

The Milk Carton Kids

2019-08-3001:10:27

The harmony duo from California, Joey Ryan and Kenneth Pattengale, discuss writing songs for commercials to stay afloat in their early years, touring economically, and the secret that has allowed their intimate creative partnership to flourish for so long.  
Joe Pug

Joe Pug

2019-07-1901:25:21

Tim Showalter of Strand of Oaks flips the tables on Joe Pug and interviews him about his new album “The Flood In Color”.  Interspersed are songs from that album.  
Langhorne Slim

Langhorne Slim

2019-07-1201:30:501

The beloved troubadour from PA speaks his mind on managing personal expectations, embracing the fact that people might love older albums, and the profound sense of gratitude he has for music in his life.
Citizen Cope

Citizen Cope

2019-05-3101:01:491

The DC native talks about his early musical influences, struggles with major labels, and his intuitive creative process.
Amanda Palmer

Amanda Palmer

2019-04-2601:00:08

The former Dresden Dolls front-woman turned solo artist talks about her early years street performing, listening to her audience rather than third party critics, and her role as a pioneer in artistic crowdfunding.
The lead guitarist of MMJ is also a singer-songwriter in his own right, with three solo records to his name.  He talks about signing to a major with his first band, auditioning for MMJ and then touring just as the band was breaking, and reconciling fatherhood with playing music on the road.
Sean McConnell

Sean McConnell

2019-02-2201:03:161

The former staff writer for Warner Chappell has stepped centerstage with a solo career, discusses what the feeling of charting a #1 hit, home recording, and the pros/cons of co-writing.
Craig Finn

Craig Finn

2019-01-2901:06:02

The Hold Steady frontman talks about making a life-changing move in his late 20s, the legendary Minneapolis music scene, and his daily writing process.
Jesse Dayton

Jesse Dayton

2018-12-2801:16:33

The Beaumont native discusses playing studio sessions for Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash, the balance of having his own band and playing for other people, and the simplicity that he's always chasing as a songwriter.
Courtney Marie Andrews

Courtney Marie Andrews

2018-11-3001:01:14

The acclaimed songwriter from Phoenix talks about touring as a backup musician, producing her own breakout album, and her love of the road.
Birds of Chicago

Birds of Chicago

2018-10-2601:04:23

The husband and wife folk/soul duo now residing in Nashville talk vocal maintenance, plumbing subconscious depths for material, and learning to tour smart.
Ian Mackaye

Ian Mackaye

2018-09-2801:17:51

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 practicality of his storied business ethos.
John Moreland

John Moreland

2018-08-3101:03:552

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.
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 by SESAC.  Both sides of the argument are presented on this episode, and then our resident expert Brendan Anthony from the Texas Music Office calls in to help explain the situation as it stands now.
Hiss Golden Messenger

Hiss Golden Messenger

2018-07-2800:58:481

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 habits.  Also, watch out for the surprise cameo by Phil Cook.
Lee Ann Womack

Lee Ann Womack

2018-06-2900:38:28

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 crossover hit.
Trampled By Turtles

Trampled By Turtles

2018-05-2501:01:444

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.
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Comments (7)

Mandy Connell

I love this Podcast. It's produced beautifully and presented by Pug, who has a speaking voice and cadence that is delightful to listen to. The conversations veer between formal interviews and comfortable exchanges in a way that keeps his guests comfortable and his listeners interested and entertained...and I find it inspiring to hear the stories behind Pug and his guests careers, songwriting and public/private life balance. I developed a new appreciation for the Milk Carton Kids, And Trampled by Turtles, giggled and sighed through Amanda Palmer and was totally entranced with the special on Pug himself. the series is honest, simple and really is a good excuse to not be writing songs.

Sep 25th
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Karl Besser

Craig Finn is to the city like Jonah is to the whale.

Feb 6th
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Jason Dirkes

Love your podcast Joe.. its so great to hear the artist stories .. and to learn of new artists. The stories in these podcasts help me survive days at work.. but most of all they inspire me... Thank you for introducing me to so many amazing performers .. thanks

Feb 5th
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David McKendry

The "iron clad excuse." Super listening, wonderful stories and no shortage of learning along the way! Keep it rolling Joe!

Sep 17th
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Michael Namrell

I love this series of podcasts! Joe is conversational and wry and his guests seem to relax into the storytelling almost immediately. Great insights are shared with the listener whether you're a songwriter or not. This has something for everyone who cares to listen in. Keep 'em coming.

Jun 23rd
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A.S. Wiscombe

fantastic. one of my favorite songwriters interviewing some of my favorite songwriters

Dec 27th
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John Malcolm Cuthbertson

Entertaining, illuminating, refreshing and a valuable insight into the vagaries of the undefinable process es of a minstrel's life. Joe Ely is an international treasurehouse of story, song, and legend. The other Joe(podcaser & interviewer/host), being a fellow gypsy-spirit, provides an easy rapport, and is a skilled interviewer- it is a conversation between friends. I would recommend this podcast to anyone who is(or aspires to be) a working songwriter. Technology has given everyone the chance to show their material to a wider audience. This is a cautionary affirmation for those who dare to pursue their vision- comprising of days that are about "22 hours of misery to 2 hours of ecstasy"(Muddy Waters) This was the first podcast of the series, and a great start of, what I hope will be, many more to come.

Oct 29th
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