As the Houston SXSW spillover begins to permeate our bars and clubs, we find ourselves inundated with talent. Sunday, Joe Pug and Horse Feathers set up shop at Mango's for a show that is sure to quench anyone's Americana thirst. We first got hipped to Joe Pug while we were interviewing Justin Townes Earle a few weeks back ahead of his Mucky Duck show. We asked Earle to throw out some names that we should be watching and he named the Low Anthem and Joe Pug. As luck would have it, Rocks Off Sr. had Pug's Messenger sitting on the desk in front of us, and it soon made its way to our cubicle. We brought it back, as per request. [Ed. Note: We appreciate that.] The Chicago native dishes out sturdy acoustic tunes with sometimes abrasive lyrics, like on Messenger's "Not So Sure" where laments how he ""undressed somebody's daughter, and then complained about her looks." It's some rough stuff at times, but he makes up for it with his gentle side. Messenger should be a lock for a few Best Of 2010 lists, and Pug is set to play quite a few gigs during SXSW this next week. We picked five artists who helped Pug evolve his sound, along with the newer Low Anthem who also share his same lineage. It seems silly to put Dylan on here, but Pug is own of the rare cats who actually carries on part of Zimmy's persona. And it's always a good time for some Jim Croce.
The Low Anthem, "To Ohio"
Jim Croce "Lover's Cross"
Steve Earle, "Someday"
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John Prine "Paradise"
Bob Dylan "Idiot Wind"