Campus Life

Preston Pugmire impresses crowd; Sings through bullhorn, saving show

Students danced, laughed and cheered at Preston Pugmire’s concert Tuesday in the Student Center Courtyard, courtesy of the Student Activities Board.
“He is really talented,” freshman Heather Davis said. “I loved it.”
Pugmire performed the concert alone, using loops. Students watched him record basic beats—by tapping on his acoustic guitar—and chords, then listened as he sang to the playback.
“I really enjoy using loops,” Pugmire said. “It’s a fun way to play music. I saw Howie Day do it and decided I would give it a shot. It just took off.”
The audience was awestruck by his abilities.
“His use of the loops was really cool,” junior Keenan Abner said. “It was awesome that he did it all on the spot. He has a great sound. I’m impressed.”
Pugmire said some of his influences are Feist, Radiohead, David Gray and OneRepublic, but that he loves all music.
“I have a passion for music,” he said. “Every time I play, I just want to make it the best show they’ve ever seen. I want them to walk away feeling good, with a passion for life.”
During the afternoon concert, he performed original and cover songs.
The crowd’s favorite original was “Soundtrack.” Pugmire said he wrote the song about a girl he had been dating for seven months.
He said he wrote it as a way to tell her he loved her without just coming out and saying it.
He said he invited her to a concert and played the song without saying it was for her.
“It was a pretty sneaky, pretty ballsy move,” he said. “I structured the song lyrically so she would know it was for her. She did. That girl is now my wife.”
He sang “Soundtrack” using a bullhorn rather than a microphone, which allowed him to come off the stage and interact with the audience.
He sat on senior SAB President Reed Strickland’s lap and pulled freshman Melissa McDowell from the audience to dance with him, all while belting out the song on the bullhorn.
“He’s very creative,” sophomore Kyle Hartman said.
Pugmire asked for a volunteer from the audience and brave senior Cody Stephens went forward.
Pugmire explained that he lacks the ability to snap his fingers and produce a sound.
Cody was able to assist him by snapping loudly. Pugmire recorded the snapping and was able to perform the remaining parts of the song without assistance.
He performed covers such as Justin Timberlake’s “What Goes Around Comes Around” and Outkast’s “Hey Ya,” which Pugmire performed as an acoustic melody rather than a hip-hop song.
“It was a very interesting take on the song,” junior Dylan Glover said. “It was slow and sweet. It takes a minute to figure out that’s ‘Hey Ya.’”
SAB Music Chair junior Chadd Pues chose Pugmire for the event.
Pues said he spent most of the summer reviewing bands from college agencies.
He said he chose Pugmire because he thought the use of the loops was original. He said another factor was the good turnout Pugmire has had on other campuses.
He said SAB decided to have the concert outside in order to draw in more students.
“College isn’t only about academics,” he said. “It’s about socializing and having new experiences.”
Pues said more students usually attend the events with the big name acts.
“The big names, such as Iron and Wine, draw big crowds,” he said. “[SAB tries] to bring in original acts, rather than just the mainstream; acts they wouldn’t likely find on their own.”
Pugmire avoided an awkward finish by being quick on his feet.
For unknown reasons, his microphone quit working during the last song of the performance. He simply picked up the bullhorn and continued singing as though it was planned.
The audience, which had grown quite large by this time, cheered gratefully.
Pugmire’s latest CD, which is a self-titled album, was available for purchase at the courtyard concert.
He gave audience members a card with a free download, encouraging them to listen to one of his songs for free before purchasing the album, which is available on iTunes and his website, prestonpugmire.bandcamp.com.
“I’m really proud of that album,” he said. “I put my whole heart and soul into it. I really like the songs and sounds that came out of it.”

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