The Working Songwriter

Joe Pug hosts a monthly conversation with one of today's best songwriters.
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The Working Songwriter





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Jan 26, 2018

The Killers frontman discusses a meteoric rise to prominence in his early 20s, the feeling of responsibility that he's developed toward music, and writing songs on the dodgy upright piano in his house instead of the baby grand in his studio.

Dec 29, 2017

The Ohio native discusses her passion for classic country, capturing the vitality of live performance on a record, and her habit of constantly collecting material for writing.

Nov 24, 2017

This lyric-driven Bluegrass outfit discusses the perils of booking their own shows, signing with Yep Roc, and the art of arranging a band around great songs.

Oct 27, 2017
The hardcore troubadour talks about his early days in Nashville as a staff writer, empathy as the essential goal of the songwriter, and gratitude for the job he loves.
Sep 29, 2017

The troubadour from Idaho discusses getting his break in Ireland, early years of van touring in the States, and writing on an empty stomach.

Aug 25, 2017

The creative force behind The Autumn Defense and a longtime member of Wilco discusses growing up in a musical household, playing punk bars in the American south, and locking himself in the studio to get a song finished.

Aug 4, 2017

Born and raised in Austin Texas, Alejandro Rose-Garcia is an internationally celebrated songwriter and performer.  He sits down to discuss his upbringing in a theatrical household, learning to record on a shoestring, and walking away from a budding film career to dedicate himself to music.

Jun 30, 2017

The frontman for Delta Spirit and now a formidable solo artist talks about playing music in the church, pulling a full "Tony Clifton" at the Casbah in San Diego, and how fatherhood has informed his latest album.

May 23, 2017

The Texas songwriter and bandleader discusses dropping out of high school to play music, his passion for idiosyncrasy when it comes to band members, and his regimented writing process.

Apr 28, 2017

Erika Wennerstrom, the creative force behind Heartless Bastards, discusses growing up in Dayton Ohio, signing to Fat Possum Records, and her techniques for bringing a song to life.

Mar 31, 2017

The Seattle-based songwriter talks about holding down dead-end jobs to continue playing music, the myth of the flighty artist, and the process for composing his upcoming album.

Feb 24, 2017

Timothy Showalter, the leader of this Philadelphia psych-rock-folk project, sits down to talk about growing up in small-town Indiana, how the radio shaped his sound, and learning how to maintain a private and public persona.

Jan 27, 2017

The southern California native reflects on her prolific career in bluegrass and beyond, with groups such as Nickel Creek, I'm With Her, and The Watkins Family Hour.

Dec 30, 2016

The leader of this chamber folk group, Justin Ringle, talks about learning to love Spotify, touring for the first time, and how he uses the studio to augment his writing process.

Nov 25, 2016

The force behind American Aquarium, BJ Barham, discusses growing up in Lucky Strike's company town, being accepted by the Texas Red Dirt community, and how to keep a band on the road for a decade. 

Oct 28, 2016

The Queen of Australian Country Music discusses her childhood in the outback, a Lucinda Williams concert that changed her life, and the tipping point of composing a song.

Sep 30, 2016

The laid-back writer of modern country gems such "Beaumont", "Chances Are" and, of course, "She Left Me For Jesus" joins the show to talk about sitting at the feet of Guy Clark, picking up merch from Beyonce's dad, and steering the direction of his career with his own hands.

Aug 26, 2016

This native Texan is the writer of #1 country music hits for Tim McGraw, The Dixie Chicks, and George Strait.  He sat down to talk about the art of writing without an agenda, the Texas-Nashville connection, and his love for analog recording.

Jul 29, 2016

A linchpin in Chicago's vibrant folk and country for decades, Robbie reflects on the major label blues, recording techniques, and falling in love with music for the first time.

Jun 24, 2016

The Grammy-nominated songwriter from Raleigh, North Carolina reflects on her time in the studio and out on the road.

May 27, 2016

Originally from South Berwick Maine, the legendary songwriter has lived in Texas for the last couple decades.  He reflects on getting his start engineering sound at The Cactus Cafe and learning from music producer Gurf Morlix. 

Apr 29, 2016

The Vermont-born songsmith reflects on signing to Righteous Babe, writing her celebrated folk opera "Hadestown", and parenthood as a working artist.

Mar 25, 2016

An hourlong conversation with celebrated songwriter, James McMurtry.

Dec 28, 2015

The Texas icon inaugurates our show with a few stories from his many years on the road.