With his laid-back demeanor and good-timing songs, Pat Green can sell out a stadium concert in Houston. Yes, a stadium! But the Texas singer is still content to play the West Coast club scene, taking his playful country music to the beach bums in California and the ball cap-wearing folks in Portland, Ore., and Seattle, with additional gigs in Las Vegas, Salt Lake City and even Teton Village, Wyo.
“When you’re playing at home, you feel like a hero,” Green tells CMT.com. “You really do. You feel good about everything that’s going on. But you still have to get out there and scuff your boots up on the pavement.”
Following the successful album Three Days in 2001, Green divided his time between his native Lone Star state and the confines of his tour bus. He still does. In fact, on Tuesday (July 15) — the day his new album Wave on Wave is released — Green is throwing a concert in San Antonio, free to anybody who buys the CD. Two days later, he’s playing the House of Blues in Los Angeles.
But when it’s home you’re talking about, that would be Austin, Texas. Though the critics there initially hated his music and the whole beer-chugging fraternity-boy scene that surrounded it, Green concedes they’re warming up to him. But he doesn’t care what the critics say about his music. He’s on a journey, he says. Besides, his earliest fans are getting older too, and more mellow, which is reflected in the song “I’m Tired.”
“That was a song I wrote when I was in a bit of a conflict in my life between being a young man and being a husband and a father and all that stuff. Where I still wanted to be in college and still wanted to be this guy, but I’m really just tired of that, you know? I’m tired of being insane.”
Green adds, “I’m much more of a journeyman when it comes to the way I think. I feel like as you go through life, when you do stupid stuff, it tends to be even more stupid, you know? I mean, there’s a much better chance of you getting killed when you’re younger, but the stuff that you do when you’re older, you’re like, oh, my God, you could really lose it all.”
Starting out playing a few tunes in college, Green gradually built a fan base built on college students and has since captured the attention of their younger brothers and sisters. Now, at age 31, he finds solace in the company of his wife (who’s carrying their first child) and the comfort of his faith. In fact, that’s what inspired the song “Wave on Wave,” which is at No. 34 on the Billboard country singles chart.
“The only word I can use to describe what I was getting at, is ’relentless.’ Once you find out what it is that brings you through or that saves you — for me, it’s my faith and my family — it’s not like it eases up on you. As you go through life, it gets stronger and stronger and stronger. Then you turn the corner eventually and learn to rely on it.”
Green invited Texas musical heroes like Ray Benson, Trish Murphy, Willie Nelson and Ray Wylie Hubbard, to sing on Wave on Wave. (“I don’t know anybody in the whole world who wouldn’t want Willie to sing on their record,” he says.) He credits the albums of his youth — those from Joe Ely, Nanci Griffith and Lyle Lovett — for the inspiration to include musicians he admired. And hey, it’s something extra for the fans.
Of course, as every smart country star will tell you, the fans are the ones that matter. And like everything else in Texas, his fan base is big, big, big. How else to explain the lucrative beer endorsement? Or the sold-out crowd at The Backyard, Austin’s outdoor amphitheater, where Green filmed the “Wave on Wave” music video?
“On a scale of 1 to 10, they’re biscuits,” Green says. “They’re everything. They’re insane, but that’s one thing we share and have in common! (laughs) That’s one of the main things you have to look at, when a band has a good following, is how able are they able to react to what they have in common with the fans, and live inside that moment and grasp it. That’s a flowery way to put it, but I can shake their hands.”