For the moment, Joe Pug has it figured out, career if not life: Just write the songs that have to be written, play them for anybody who will listen, tour as if you had no home. Oh, and give your music away. Which isn’t to say he won’t be selling his debut full-length offering, Messenger. But free is how he came to make it, more or less. It worked like this, for Joe Pug anyhow: The day before his senior year as a playwright student at the University of North Carolina, he sat down for a cup of coffee and had the clearest thought of his life: I am profoundly unhappy here. Then came the second clearest. Pug packed up his belongings and pointed his car towards Chicago. Working as a carpenter by day, the 23 year-old Pug spent nights playing the guitar he hadn’t picked up since his teenage years. Using ideas originally slated for a play he was writing called Austin Fish, Pug began creating the sublime lyrical arrangements that would become the Nation of Heat EP. The songs were recorded fast and fervently at a Chicago studio where a friend snuck him in to late night slots other musicians had cancelled. He was short on money, but his bare-boned sincerity didn’t require much more than a microphone and it dripped off of each note he sang.