"...Pug's scorching poetry and soulful, 'every phrase could be my last' voice will stop you cold. Twenty years from now, lazy journalists will compare every halfway decent songwriter to Joe Pug. Mark my words."
— Jason Killingsworth, Deputy Editor, Paste Magazine
"Fans of quality songwriting need to hunt down a copy of Nation of Heat."
— My Old Kentucky Blog
"Hymn 101" is full of lines that will fill you with both heartbreak and euphoria. It's good to be reminded that that's why we listen to music in the first place."
— 3 Hive
"Every word here is just amazingly beautiful...packed with symbolism and pure poetry.....Let Joe Pug give you back faith in folk music and truly marvelous singer-songwriters."
— Delusions of Adequacy
"Seemingly inspired by Dylan's debut, Pug's slurred singing, folkie ramble and way with a phrase make him a dead ringer for the boyish Bob. "Call It What You Will" and "Speak Plainly Diana" offer a weary outlook, but a tart "I Do My Father's Drugs" scores on sarcasm alone."
— Performing Songwriter Magazine
"...Joe eschews verse/chorus/verse and instead lets loose a barrage of stream of consciousness that somehow is devoid of pretension and cliche."
— Songs: Illinois
"Much in the way of Josh Ritter’s recent breakthrough, Joe Pug is able to sound like a wise old sage with a million stories and a memory that captures each detail and refuses to let them dim."
"Pug is the real deal. The kid’s got that weariness in his delivery that you can’t smoke or drink your way to because it comes from somewhere deeper than the vocal chords. It’s the same gritty, spirited voice that made Hank I, Kurt Cobain, and Bob Dylan iconic."
"...We as Chicagoans will be privileged enough to watch the kid develop from precocious youngster to out and out star."
"...staggering in its courage and rich in its symbolism"
— Twang Nation
"One of the most unfathomably masterful debuts I've heard in recent memory."
— Captain Obvious
"Some pretty decent singer/songwriters have called Chicago home over the years. There's that Tweedy guy and Andrew Bird...Well, get ready to add another name to that list: Joe Pug. This kid (still in his early 20's) is going to make a serious mark on this city's music scene, guaranteed."
— UR Chicago Magazine
"I found it hard to make it past the first track, “Hymn 101,” just because it is so damn good. After taking that song off repeat and listening to the rest of Nation of Heat, I knew I’d be addicted....the album has still not left my player. It will be one of the best EP’s of 2008."
— Hear Ya Blog
"You know how sometimes a song resonates with you? If Joe Pug’s songs don’t, I think you might be a zombie."
— The Late Greats
"Earnest, touching, and world-weary far beyond his mere 22 years, Joe Pug often recalls early Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan.... Pug exhibits a thoughtfulness and social consciousness that's rare in singer-songwriters more than twice his age, and a talent that's even rarer."
— Illinois Entertainer