Green: Making waves
Twenty-five years after starting out as a “weekend warrior,” Pat Green is a weekend warrior again. Only now it pays much better.
“I’m the luckiest fool that ever walked on two legs,” said the Texas singer/songwriter during an interview about his June 2 performance at The Backyard at Fritztown. “How could you not love this life?”
His success is not all about luck, of course.
Green started paying his dues as an 18-year-old student at Texas Tech, playing the bars, clubs, and dance halls around Lubbock. It all fit into his long-term plan.
“I always believed slow growth is permanent growth,” he said. “Hard work really pays off, and my model is ‘you can’t outwork me.’ I knew if I had the state of Texas in my pocket, there was a much better chance of me having success than driving up to Nashville, putting on a hat and belt buckle, and seeing if I could save the planet.”
By the time he played Willie Nelson’s July 4 picnic in 1998, Nashville had started noticing him.
“For a long time, I thought I would never leave Texas. Then they came knocking on my door after we had some success going, and it seemed the next natural step.”
Part of it was talent; part of it was “really good timing.”
“There was kind of like a little backlash, or burnout, or whatever you want to call it, after half a decade of really flashy, super produced country music, and I was the next guy standing,” the San Antonio native said. “There were more country radio stations than rock and roll, and I felt like if I’m gonna do it, then this is when we are going to do it. When they came with a record deal that had some money involved with it, I wasn’t stupid.”
His signature hit came with 2003’s “Wave on Wave. “He has put out seven studio albums and had 15 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, earning him a loyal fan base in Texas and beyond.
But Green’s biggest fans may be the most discerning — other musicians. He has recorded with or been recorded by the likes of Lyle Lovett, Sheryl Crow, Jack Ingram, Walt Wilkins, Delbert McClinton, Lee Roy Parnell, and Willie Nelson. He gets a little tongue-tied when trying to describe that feeling.
“I’ve recorded with a lot of guys in my life, and my attitude is always the same,” he said. “If someone wants to honor me by putting me on their record, I’m going to do it. Everybody has a talent that they do well. I’ve gotten fortunate to do it with music. I’m gonna keep doing it, and if someone wants my skill set on their record, I’m gonna be there.”
But Green is most comfortable on stage doing his live shows, which number about 100 a year.
“‘High energy’ is definitely the way I would describe my shows,” he said. “There is nothing boring about it. I like to tell stories about where the songs came from and what is important to my life. If you have the right mix of music and storytelling, that’s where people really get the bang for their buck.”
Being on stage still gives him a bang.
“The show is still the real prize for me, no doubt about it,” he said. “I could be having the worst day and I step on stage, and it all disappears for an hour and a half. I still love my job.”
Pat Green performs live at The Backyard at Fritztown on Saturday, June 2, from 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Jonathan Tyler opens.
Tickets at www.patgreen.com.
Phil Houseal is a writer and owner of Full House PR.