In planning the video for “Bright Beginnings,” Joe Pug was ready to give up a little bit of creative control. But it wasn’t always that way for the Austin-based singer-songwriter.
“When I was younger, I felt like to be some sort of master genius at creating you had to do everything yourself,” Pug tells Rolling Stone Country. “But the older I get, and the more I create, the more trusting I am of other people with aspects of a project. I think that’s a mark of growing up.”
Premiering exclusively on Rolling Stone Country, “Bright Beginnings,” from his newest release, Windfall, was created and envisioned by director Aaron Brown, who took to the streets of the singer’s hometown to tell a story about struggling relationships — the spark that’s lost along the way; the spontaneous dates replaced by nights on the couch zoned out to infomercials; and the renewal that comes from taking just a little extra effort to make things feel new, reborn. Getting married this summer, Pug had been thinking a lot about these ideas, but he’d also just dug out from an artistic rut that landed him in Lexington, Kentucky (“it’s not Nashville or Muscle Shoals, that’s for sure”), recording in one of the best experiences of his career. So sure, “Bright Beginnings” is about relationships, but not necessarily between two lovers.
“People take song lyrics really literally,” says Pug, discussing the larger picture of “Bright Beginnings,” “and the idea that they could be an allegory for something else never gets the time of day. [The song] could be about a relationship, but it doesn’t have to be about one between a man and a woman. Could it be an older self and a younger self? Or a self and art they love? I like it when works can be allegories for several different things.”
So does Pug’s future wife look for personal significance in his songs — and does that ever cause a little bit of pre-marital conflict? “She’s always the first one I play for,” Pug says, adding with a laugh, “but I think the reason our relationship works is because she doesn’t care about my songs one way or another.”
Pug is currently on a headlining tour. He’ll play St. Louis tonight before visiting such major markets as Chicago, Boston and New York.