Singer/songwriter Joe Pug has re-recorded his beloved, largely solo acoustic 2008 debut Nation of Heat with a full band, featuring contributions from The Killers’ Brandon Flowers, My Morning Jacket guitarist Carl Broemel, Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit keyboardist Derry deBorja and singer/songwriter Courtney Hartman.
Nation of Heat | Revisited is due July 22 on Nation of Heat Records. Steve Earle penned the liner notes for the new edition of the album, the original version of which was self-released by Pug and turned him into a DIY favorite in the modern singer/songwriter scene.
“It’s how I would’ve wanted the record to sound in the first place if I’d had the money and the ability to do it this way,” says Pug of Nation of Heat, which has racked up more than 20 million streams on Spotify. “But I knew this album couldn’t just be the original songs with a bar band behind me as I played an acoustic guitar. I didn’t want to just add a rhythm section. It had to be a complete reimagining.”
Flowers sings backup on opening track “Hymn #1,” while Broemel plays guitar on “Nobody’s Man” and pedal steel on “Call It What You Will.” Nation of Heat | Revisited also includes appearances by drummer Mark Stepro (Jackson Browne, Butch Walker), guitarist Justin Craig (Broadway’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch, John Cameron Mitchell) and organist Phil Krohnengold (Sara Bareilles, The Milk Carton Kids).
“What this project showed me is that there are a lot of different forms of wealth in this world and there’s a very important kind of wealth that I didn’t even know I had,” says Pug, adding that there is no acoustic guitar anywhere to be heard on the new version. “I have this community that is committed to the same artistic values that I’m committed to.”
Pug has a handful of shows on his upcoming schedule, including a July 4 appearance at Fitzgerald’s American Music Festival in Berwyn, Ill.