Pat Green sticking to his musical guns
BY TRICIA DESPRES May 30, 2012 4:54PM
Pat Green is touring behind his new album “Songs We Wish We’d Written II.” | TONY BAKER PHOTO
♦ 10 p.m., June 1
♦ Joe’s Bar, 940 W. Weed, Chicago
♦ Tickets, $28
♦ Sold Out
Updated: July 3, 2012 12:48PM
In his 2009 hit “Country Star,” Texas-born and bred rocker Pat Green toys with the idea of heading to Nashville to “ride shotgun with Kenny, Faith and Tim” and “break all the young girls’ hearts just like Keith Urban.” Soon after the song’s release, the majority of his loyal fans realized the song was a bit of a sarcastic swipe at the country music industry as a whole. Yet, a few of them had to wonder if there was a sliver of truth woven within those lyrics.
Three years later, the truth is this: Green seems more confident and steadfast than ever regarding his career, his new record label and his determination to stay true to his musical roots.
“I certainly understand now more than ever how corporate the music industry can be,” says Green in a phone call from his Texas home. “If someone’s going to put [up] a couple million dollars to put a record out for you, you kind of have to listen to their opinion, and sometimes that’s difficult, but you get up and you do it and you enjoy yourself.”
Just back from a Hawaii trip where he celebrated his 40th birthday with family and friends, Green seems quite satisfied and content with his brand new release, “Songs We Wish We’d Written II,” a compilation of music originally penned by the likes of Lyle Lovett, Tom Petty, Shelby Lynne and Jon Randall, and a sequel to the 2001 album he recorded with longtime friend (and fellow Texan) Cory Morrow.
“Doing a record like this is a great way to test the waters and see how the relationship would work on a bigger scale,” says Green of independent label Sugar Hill Records. “At this point, everyone is happy and we are doing great, so the plan is to go record the new album for them and let them run with the ball for a while.”
Indeed, plans for new material from the Grammy- nominated singer/songwriter is good news for his loyal fan base, who have been waiting for a handful of years for Green to get back into the recording studio.
“I think [the new album] will be much more organic,” says Green, who has co-written songs with artists such as Willie Nelson, Brad Paisley, Jewel and Rob Thomas.
“There are a lot of songs that I have written that I always thought were really good but have never been recorded. When I am putting together a record, I please myself first. If I think a song is cool, more or less it’s going to work.”
And after 15 years in the recording business, this insight not only helps when it comes to record sales but also attendance at his wildly popular live shows.
“We go to a place like Chicago and we know exactly what we are going to get,” chuckles Green, (whose June 1 show at Joe’s Bar is sold out).
“Every musician feeds off of crowd reaction … that’s just how it works. It’s about knowing how to stretch a single into a triple. You learn through the years what songs are working and if they are working, you let them keep doing their job. The crowd at a place like Joe’s has that much more of an intense reaction seemingly because [the audience] are so close to each other. They feed off each other. I just try to throw a bunch of energy out to them and see what they can throw back to me.”
Tricia Despres is a local free-lance writer.