PAT GREEN LEARNED a long time ago to take opinions with a grain of salt. The San Antonio native has released a dozen albums — some indie, some with major labels — in a 20-year career that’s seen Grammy recognition, sold-out stadiums and radio success way beyond the Texas airwaves. His fanbase is also widespread, as Green is one of the most nationally recognized voices ever to come out of the Texas country scene. But all accolades aside, with some people, he just can’t win.
“I get crap from just about anybody, whether I’m making a record independently or for a record company, which is when people say I’ve sold out,” the singer-songwriter says. “But I’ve never made a record I wasn’t totally invested in and that I didn’t like the sound of. When you make records with big producers or big record labels, those records are bombastic — that’s just the way they’re going to sound. But then when I make the next record, I’m still the same guy.”
He remembers his father once telling him, “There’s only one thing you can learn from patience, and that’s patience.” Green learned that lesson when it took more than two years of waiting for the right opportunity to get his most recent album, 2015’s Home, out into the marketplace.
He’d parted ways with Sugar Hill Records and had to seek out a new partner. That finally came via Thirty Tigers, which released Home in conjunction with the singer-songwriter’s Greenhorse Music. It was Green’s first collection of original songs in more than six years.
ONE FOR THE ROAD: Richard Skanse traveled with Green on his tour bus to profile the popular country singer.
While much of that album sounds like the classic Pat Green that’s earned him a huge fan base, particularly in Texas, the project also has what the veteran calls its “artsy-fartsy” moments. “When you’re making records for big labels, everything’s geared toward radio,” he says. “They don’t really let you have the artsy-fartsy,” which is something he now feels he has more freedom to pursue.
But has he been able to get his fans to grasp the concept? “I wish you could just get up onstage and tell people to sit down for a minute and just listen to how great this is,” says Green. “But that’s kind of boring.” In concert, he says, his fans want the “big” Pat Green, “the one on the Jumbotron.”
Twice in his career, Green teamed up with friend and fellow singer-songwriter Cory Morrow for albums that paid tribute to other artists. Then, in 2018, Green found himself on the other end of a tribute effort. Dancehall Dreamin’ features country artists honoring Green with renditions of some of his best-known songs. Green says he’s done with the traditional record-making process. “Putting out an album of 15 songs, that’s a young man’s game,” he allows. “And I’m happy for those young men who are out there doing it right now.”
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