Travel Music – Joe Pug / Hymn 101

Music has always inspired my photography.  Before I put my camera down for a pen — I hosted house concerts in my hometown.  Booking only unsigned, independent artists who had a certain flair for storytelling; old souls who could truly turn a phrase and hold an audience spellbound.  I regret to say my music project didn’t bear fruit long enough for me to book Chicago native, Joe Pug.

I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Joe in Indianapolis at a songwriter’s showcase in 2008.  When he performed this song in front of a packed crowd waiting to hear Justin Townes Earle, you could have heard a pin drop.  I maintain this is one of the finest songs that year, hands down. It continues to be a beloved and incredibly profound tune for this traveler.  Please look him up online — his last CD is called Messenger.  Joe will be on the road with me to New Mexico (at least on my mp3 player). Lyrics below the video:

Yeah I’ve come to know the wishlist of my father.
I’ve come to know the shipwrecks where he wished.
I’ve come to wish aloud among the overdressed crowd.
Come to witness now the sinking of the ship.
Throwing pennies from the seatop next to it.

And I’ve come to roam the forest past the village
With a dozen lazy horses in my cart.
I’ve come here to get eyed
To do more than just get by
I’ve come to test the timbre of my heart.
Oh I’ve come to test the timbre of my heart.

And I’ve come to be untroubled in my seeking.
And I’ve come to see that nothing is for naught.
I’ve come to reach out blind
To reach forward and behind
For the more I seek the more I’m sought
Yeah, the more I seek the more I’m sought.

And I’ve come to meet the sheriff and his posse,
To offer him the broad side of my jaw.
I’ve come here to get broke,
Then maybe bum a smoke.
We’ll go drinking two towns over after all.
Well, we’ll go drinking two towns over after all.

And I’ve come to meet the legendary takers.
I’ve only come to ask them for a lot.
Oh they say I come with less than I should rightfully possess.
I say the more I buy the more I’m bought.
And the more I’m bought the less I cost.

And I’ve come to take their servants and their surplus.
And I’ve come to take their raincoats and their speed.
I’ve come to get my fill
To ransack and spill.
I’ve come to take the harvest for the seed.
I’ve come to take the harvest for the seed.

And I’ve come to know the manger that you sleep in.
I’ve come to be the stranger that you keep.
I’ve come from down the road,
And my footsteps never slowed.
Before we met I knew we’d meet.
Before we met I knew we’d meet.

And I’ve come here to ignore your cries and heartaches.
I’ve come to closely listen to you sing.
I’ve come here to insist
That I leave here with a kiss.
I’ve come to say exactly what I mean.
And I mean so many things.

And you’ve come to know me stubborn as a butcher.
And you’ve come to know me thankless as a guest.
But will you recognize my face
When God’s awful grace
Strips me of my jacket and my vest,
And reveals all the treasure in my chest?

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