Today, singer-songwriter Joe Pug announced a new album, The Diving Sun, which brings together lost gems from his various studio sessions with producers Duane Lundy (Jim James, Ben Sollee) and Kenneth Pattengale (The Milk Carton Kids, Joy Williams) along with new songs recorded in quarantine. What began as a process of collecting archived session files for a B-sides album morphed into an obsessive remix and became a full-on album process with entirely new songs slated for release March 19 via Nation of Heat Records. “Once I had chosen the archived songs, I realized that there was a narrative running through all of them,” says Pug. “To complete that narrative, I had to write and record some new songs. But then once I had those new songs recorded, I had to improve the old ones. It was kind of like when you clean one room of your house and the only result is that it makes your other rooms look messier.”
To accompany the announcement, Pug shared the album’s romping summer romance lead track, “Crescent Bridge.” The song first came together while Pug passed some time playing his children’s tiny, bright blue Tom Thumb piano. “I almost never play it, preferring the upright piano in my studio, but one night last year I sat down at its keyboard to kill some time,” Pug says. “Almost immediately the opening notes to “Crescent Bridge” came ringing out from Tom Thumb. It was almost as if my fingers themselves were writing the instrumental part without any help from my mind or my ear. Ten minutes later I had the song.”
The Diving Sun follows “Crescent Bridge” with a bitter separation in the haunting “Wild Kind of Longing.” Finally, the album reconciles on a buoyant note of hope on “Ten Miles of Mercy” with the triumphant mellotron arrangement of Pat Sansone (Wilco, The Autumn Defense). Along the way, there’s a wry look at heartbreak with “None the Wiser,” which lopes along with a beat courtesy of renowned session drummer JT Bates (Bon Iver, Taylor Swift, Bonny Light Horseman). Of course, no album about star-crossed lovers would be complete without a John-Cusack-Boombox-On-The-Lawn ballad like “Deep End,” which features the wiley accordion of Philip Krohnengold (Sara Bareilles, Matt Berninger).