Fayetteville Roots Festival Profile: Joe Pug

Joe Pug


Before the rustling of fall leaves, before the first rumblings of bikers and before the early season roars from Razorback Stadium, late summer/early fall in Fayetteville is becoming known for the sounds of roots music.

The fourth annual Fayetteville Roots Festival is coming up on Aug. 22-25 at various locations around Fayetteville, and over the past several weeks, we’ve been getting to know some of the artists set to perform at the festival this year.

The latest artist on the stellar lineup to catch our attention is Austin-based songwriter Joe Pug, who’s set to perform two sets at this year’s event.

About six years ago Pug was a carpenter by trade, and though he no longer swings a hammer for a living, he still applies a blue-color approach to earning fans. He earned his reputation, and likely his recording contract with Nashville indie label Lightning Rod Records by touring constantly, and giving away his music to fans, one CD at a time.

“People requested 2 copies, 5 copies, 10 copies, 20 copies. We’d send them all. We even covered the postage,” Pug said.

“We still do it, actually,” he said. “There’s always a tab on our website that says free music, and people can get a sample of all our albums there.”

Pug will kick off a lengthy fall tour with his appearance at the Fayetteville Roots Festival, and plans to go back into the studio to begin work on his third full length album.

“I’ve been writing a fair amount lately,” he said. “We’re getting ready to record this winter.”

Pug was last in town about a year ago opening for James McMurtry at George’s, and said he’s excited to be coming back to Fayetteville.

“I really enjoyed Fayetteville a lot,” he said. “I love playing college towns. There are always really engaged fans, good crowds, really good food. I remember really enjoying the venue at George’s. Such a cool old place.”

Joe Pug will perform on Thursday, Aug. 22 at the festival kick-off party at the Garner farm, and then again on Friday, Aug. 23 on the Walton Arts Center mainstage at 6:50 p.m. after 3 Penny Acre, and just before Iris Dement and Del McCoury.

“I can’t believe the lineup that Friday night that we’ll be playing in,” he said. “We can’t wait to get up there.”

Joe Pug – One of Many