Pat Green Biography
Last updated: 09/25/2008 12:00:00 PM
Did you know that Pat Green's last album Three Days debuted on the Billboard Country Albums Chart at #7? (It then proceeded to stay on that chart for over a year)
Did you also know that Green's last three shows in Houston were attended by over 134,000 people?
If there is a college or university in your town, chances are that Pat has played where you live.
In fact if you live anywhere other than Texas, Pat Green may be the most famous country singer you've never heard of. If, on the other hand, you're a resident of the Lone Star state, then you're probably well aware of the phenomenal grass-roots success that the San Antonio-born, Waco-raised, Austin-based singer/songwriter has achieved. On his home turf, the hard-working, self-effacing singer/songwriter has become a hero to a legion of rabid fans, having sold nearly 300,000 albums prior to landing a major record label deal, and playing to thousands of ecstatic admirers a night. In the process, he's helped launch an honest-to-goodness movement that's led a generation of young Texans to rediscover their regional roots.
The energy, honesty and easygoing charisma that have made Pat Green a star in his home state are in abundant supply on his second Republic/Universal release, Wave on Wave. At the same time, the album-produced by Don Gehman, whose resume includes work with the likes of John Mellencamp, Hootie and the Blowfish, Nanci Griffith, Bruce Hornsby and R.E.M.- also represents a bold leap forward for the artist, boasting both an expanded musical palette and a thoughtful, introspective lyrical depth that adds a new layer of emotional complexity to the humble Green's regular-guy image.
The album's 13 songs-12 of them penned by Green, both on his own and with an assortment of friends, bandmates and kindred spirits-span the emotional spectrum, with their insights driven home by vibrant, earthy performances from Green and his longstanding live band. Green's accessible everyman persona animates tunes like "Guy Like Me," "California" and "All the Good Things Fade Away," while the surging title track (which appears in two distinctive versions) is an uplifting ode to the exhilaration of love. The poignant "Sing 'Til I Stop Crying" has the feel of an instant classic, while "Wrapped" and "Eden's Gate" amplify the spiritual dimension that's always been present in Green's work. Meanwhile, the flamboyantly out-there "Elvis" finds Green sharing vocals with fellow Texans Willie Nelson, Ray Benson, Waylon Payne and Trish Murphy, and the haunting "If I Was the Devil" finds Green duetting with legendary Texas troubadour Ray Wylie Hubbard. The title track, “Wave On Wave,” was personally produced and mixed by the legendary chairman of the Universal Music Group, Doug Morris, along with veteran producer, Tony Brown.
"I really feel like we stretched the box as far as we could on this one," Green says of the album. "But it's not flashy and overproduced, it's still handmade music. This whole record came together in a really natural way; everything felt good and sounded good. I think we finally captured this balance that we've been trying forever to get. After five or six years of recording, I think we've finally started hitting our stride."
The unselfconscious forthrightness and clear-eyed optimism that drive Wave on Wave have been key elements of Green's appeal from the start. Growing up as the eighth of nine siblings, he first fell in love with music via the stage musicals that his actor father appeared in. As a teen, he discovered his home state's rich country-music heritage via the gritty, personally-charged music of such Texans as Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Robert Earl Keen and Jerry Jeff Walker. He began writing and performing his own songs at 18, while a student at Texas Tech in Lubbock. In 1995, while still in college, he borrowed money from family and friends to make his first self-released album, Dancehall Dreamer. By 1998, he was performing regularly in small clubs and honky-tonks around Texas. The same year, a high-profile appearance at Willie Nelson's July 4th picnic introduced Green to a wider audience, led to regional airplay, and helped him win his first booking at the legendary Ft. Worth dancehall Billy Bob's, where nearly 2000 fans showed up to see him.
"It was completely a homegrown thing, and it seemed to happen really quickly," Green recalls. "The whole thing was always very spontaneous and easy and natural. We never thought we were gonna be big business, so the concern was really to get out there and play and make sure that every person who came to the show left happy and wanted to come back."
Green's upbeat songs and unassuming attitude had struck an unmistakable chord with a generation of young Texans who were discovering their roots just as the artist had discovered his, and before long the artist was headlining for several thousand fans a night. Along the way, Green released five independent albums that sold nearly 200,000 copies in Texas alone, without the benefit of mainstream promotion or major-label distribution. Green's rise to prominence-which seemingly violated every accepted rule of music-industry success-helped carve out an unconventional route to success that would be emulated by a generation of young Texas-centric performers who followed in his wake.
Not surprisingly, it wasn't long before major labels took notice and came calling. But Green resisted their offers, preferring to continue making music on his own terms. "From the time we started, the focus of our plan was just to record our music our way," he explains. "I wasn't interested in having somebody put a hat and a big shiny belt buckle on me and have a personal trainer follow me around and make me into something I'm not. I never felt like I had the clout to walk into Nashville and say 'OK, I'm gonna write my own songs and have my band play on them,' so I just decided to wait until I found somebody that believed in what I had to say, and was willing to go the distance with it. And if that day never came, so be it."
Green finally took the major-label plunge when the New York-based Republic offered him the opportunity to do things his own way. His first album for the label, 2001's Three Days, helped expand his national profile and won a legion of new fans around the country. But where Three Days consolidated the achievements of his independent albums and reprised several songs from those early releases, Wave on Wave is a bold, free-standing artistic statement that combines the iconoclastic spirit of Green's prior work with a new level of sonic and compositional craft, while continuing to embody an unmistakably, unapologetically Texas frame of mindand independent spirit.
"We've always tried to grow with every record, but I think this one's a quantum leap," Green comments. "That was especially true in the writing process. This time, I felt really comfortable saying what I wanted to say. There's several songs on this record that were magical moments; there's four or five that were written in a night and then recorded the next day. "
"The songs that are real to me are always lyric-driven," Green points out. "People get caught up in the idea that you can produce a hit or create a pop sensation, but to me the only way to make any headway is to write a song that captures a moment or a feeling that's universal, because that's what people respond to. Being true to yourself is the only way to make it palpable for the people who are listening. Otherwise it just sounds contrived and fake."
Indeed, it's that determination to continue making real, heartfelt music that make Pat Green special. "It's important to remember that any success you might have is a by-product, it's not the thing itself," he states. "I didn't get into this business to get rich, I got into it because I love music and because I love people. And I've found that those two things coincide; music is a big part of people's lives everywhere in the world. Being some sort of one-hit-wonder or flash in the pan doesn't really appeal to me. I'm more interested in that old-school idea that music has meaning to people; that's what I care about being part of. I think that you can get really far on integrity and common sense, and that if you keep doing good, honest work, you're gonna be alright."
Thanks to firstname.lastname@example.org for submitting the biography.