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Troubadour Joe Pug’s inspirational lyrics

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Joe Pug with special guest Amy Cook

† 10 p.m. Saturday

† Lincoln Hall, 2424 N. Lincoln

Tickets: $15

Updated: December 4, 2012 6:04AM

Songwriting prodigy and former Chicagoan Joe Pug returns to the Windy City to share chapters of his songbook of stories on Saturday at Lincoln Hall.

The lonesome coffeehouse troubadour is touring in support of “The Great Despiser,” released earlier this year.

Four years ago, Pug put down his hammer (he was a carpenter) and rediscovered his acoustic guitar. His poignant lyrics are dressed with a hint of despair and performed with some good old-fashioned guitar twang.

“Getting inspiration of lyrics is my main job, so I try to keep their source varied,” Pug said. “I like novels, newspaper articles, personal conversations, poetry, advertisements. The lyrics that have the most lasting impact on me are often the simplest. Some lyrics are witty and they catch your attention at first but they don’t tend to stay with you over time.”

Naturally, we were curious to hear what lyrics have inspired Joe, and here are 10 of his favorites.

1. “There’s no highways of gold / There’s no rivers of brilliant diamonds / There’s only hearts made of stone / And the money that the world survives on.” — “Highways of Gold” by Harvey Thomas Young

2. “I watched the waitress for a thousand years / Saw a wheel inside a wheel / Heard a call inside a call.” — “I Dream a Highway” by Gillian Welch

3. “Dallas is a rich man with a death wish in his eyes.” — “Dallas From a DC 99” by Joe Ely

4. “Just a fleeting glimpse of that rare suspense / I once thought made the world go ’round.” ­— “Hurricane Party” by James McMurtry

5. “When I stop dreaming / That’s when I’ll stop loving you.” — “When I Stop Dreaming” by The Louvin Brothers

6. “The choice is yours to make / Time is yours to take / Some sail upon the sea / Some toil upon the stone” — “To Live Is to Fly” by Townes Van Zandt

7. “Those who have strayed were sought by the master.” — “Green Pastures,” traditional

8. “When I leave it will be as I found your love / Descending Victorian stairs / Now I’m feeling like one of your photographs / Trapped while I’m putting on airs / And getting even by asking who cares?” — “The Brand New Tennessee Waltz” by Jesse Winchester

9. “You would rather have a Lexus or justice / A dream or some substance?” — “Hip-Hop” by Dead Prez

10. “Take it easy but take it.” — Woody Guthrie’s motto

Tony A. Solano is a local free-lance writer.

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