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Pat Green revisits "Songs" album project; talks about his career

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Texas singer-songwriter Pat Green talks to Red Dirt Report about new album, "Songs We Wish We'd Written II"
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OKLAHOMA CITY – This week was somewhat hit and miss for Texas country musician Pat Green. While he had a great time at the Wormy Dog Saloon here in Oklahoma City, his show Friday night at a casino in Clinton, Okla. never took place.

“It was a rainout,” he said, a hint of disappointment in his voice. “Honestly, it was … I’ve done 3,000 shows and … I think in my lifetime there have been less than a dozen shows we didn’t do.”

And he added that the bummer was that the rain was over with by showtime, but at that point the crew had taken down the stage and equipment and were already gone. Such in the nature of touring sometimes.

Green, 40, is out on tour again promoting his latest album, Songs We Wish We’d Written II out on Sugar Hill Records. It features an eclectic collection of cover songs including Tom Petty’s “Even The Losers,” Joy Ely and Alan Sexton’s “All Just To Get To You” and “If It Weren’t For You,” written by Walt Wilkins and Liz Rose, among others.

The first Songs collection, featuring Green and his long-time friend Cory Morrow, was released in 2001, around the time he also released his terrific Three Days album, which was followed by his major breakthrough in 2003, Wave on Wave.

Since that time, Green’s career was on a rapid upward climb. He scored some hits in the mid 2000’s – “Baby Doll,” “Feels Just Like It Should,” “Dixie Lullaby” and “Let Me” – and by the time he released his 2009 album What I’m For, Green had given the Nashville scene a go. Naturally, the purists and those who followed his career on the Texas country/ college bar circuit wanted Green to eschew the trappings of Nashville and continue to do the same Lone Star shout-out stuff he had been doing for years. Green was feeling restless. It was time to take a different musical route.

“I think it shows a staggering lack of creativity to do the same thing over and over again,” Green told Red Dirt Report. “You kind of get sick of the music. I am not a fan of that and I won’t make records that sound like that.”

Continuing, he made the analogy that the films Jaws and Jaws II were essentially the same story.

Said Green, rhetorically: “So why not change it up?”

So, with three years since What I’m For was released, Green went back to the studio with his touring band and a dozen cover songs in mind and cranked out some solid songs that show Green in a relaxed and fun-loving mood.

A lot of people who have followed Green’s career suspected that the independent-minded Texan wasn’t as comfortable in the confines of a Nashville studio as others might be.

“I certainly took my shot at it,” Green said of his stab at mainstream country music, a genre he said he is not a fan of. “I’m not going to do that anymore, with 10 people in the control booth with me. It was a fun time and my career grew to a great level through that experience. I’ve done that period. If you look at my heroes – Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Jerry Jeff Walker … they spent a majority of their lives on major record labels. And you have to do that to get played on the radio across the nation.”

“I’m a fairly good student of music,” Green said. “Once the large corporations get into making records you realize they’re in it to make money. That’s just the way it is. They’re in it for the money and not the artists.”

Shifting his line of thought into the corporate world, Green said that if it wasn’t that way “We wouldn’t have a Central Market (grocery store) or we wouldn’t have jet planes. It’s the nature of corporate America.

His long-time friend Cory Morrow (they attended Texas Tech together, getting their start in Lubbock) does make an appearance on the new Songs collection, a cover of Lyle Lovett’s “If I Had a Boat.”

“Cory and I are still great friends,” Green said.

“Streets of Galilee,” a song originally written by Aaron Lee Tasjan, with a New York-based band called the Madison Square Gardeners, made the cut, primarily because Green discovered, when looking at the top songs he would play on his iTunes collection, Tasjan’s “Streets of Galilee” was the number one-played song in his collection.

Green got to work with Tasjan and he said the singer-songwriter was “one of the funniest dudes I’ve ever met in my life.”

Working with Austin guitarist Monte Montgomery was also a thrill for Green. He appears with him on the song “Soulshine,” written by Allman Brothers Band guitarist Warren Haynes.

“Monte Montgomery has been one of my guitar gods,” Green said. “You can’t compare him to anybody. All the great Austin guitar players, Stevie Ray Vaughan included. He is so off on his own.”

Another cover that stands out is Green’s version of Collective Soul’s 1995 hit “The World I Know.” In fact, Collective Soul singer Ed Roland appears on the song with Green.

“We’re just buddies,” Green said. “We were doing a show together in Augusta, Georgia, a charity event. We shook hands and got to be friends. We got to play at the Augusta National (Golf Club) as payment for the show.”

Over time, the two musical stars (and golfing buddies) would stay in touch. That friendship would flourish into a creative bond.

“(Collective Soul) was one of the biggest bands through the 90’s. I thought, ‘Why the hell not, take advantage of that relationship,” Green said.

With Songs We Wish We’d Written II out in stores, the Texas troubadour said new, original material is being worked on.

“We’re going to record new material this summer,” Green said. “It should be available early next year. It will be another reason to go out on the road.”

Before we concluded our conversation, Green said that he is in a very comfortable and creative position in his life, now that he has just turned 40 (at the mention of his age, he laughed and said, “It beats the alternative!”).

“I love my life. I love doing this for a living. To do this at a very high level for the last 18 years has been the thrill ride of a lifetime. There are plenty of naysayers out there who want to call me what they want to call me. But they just talk loud and usually the ones who talk the loudest don’t have much to say.”

Concluded Green: “If you don’t take risks in the music business, you’ll never get hurt.”

Pat Green returns to Oklahoma City’s Wormy Dog Saloon on August 4th.

For more information about Pat Green go to www.patgreen.com.

Copyright 2012 Red Dirt Report

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About the Author

Andrew W. Griffin

Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from John Brown University in... read more

About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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