Musings on folk, Americana, country, bluegrass and newgrass

Remember Pat Green? You can catch him playing his new album at Ziggys on Wednesday, March 11

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Singer-songwriter Pat Green’s claim to fame is the haunting, “Wave on Wave,” a crossover smash hit which topped the charts more than a decade ago. But the Texas native is no one-hit wonder. In fact, he has a new album out, “What I’m For,” and he’s coming to Ziggy’s at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, March 11, in Winston-Salem. If you like Robert Earl Keen, Lyle Lovett, Jimmy Buffet and Dierks Bentley, you won’t want to miss Green’s show. Advanced tickets are $17 and $20 at the door. Buy tickets here.

Following is the interview I did with Green for The Reidsville Review in 2007 when he was opening for  Kenny Chesney and Sugarland at the Greensboro Coliseum.

Six questions with Pat Green

Singer-songwriter Pat Green is best known for his crossover hit, “Wave on Wave.” The triple Grammy nominee and Texas icon is once again opening for country megastar Kenny Chesney with Sugarland on the 2007 Flip-Flop Summer Tour, which makes it way to the Greensboro Coliseum on Thursday and to Charlotte and Raleigh in August. His current hit “Dixie Lullaby” is in heavy rotation on country music video channels and has moved up Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart to 24 this week. The Reidsville Review recently had a chance to talk to Green by phone about his rising fame, his music, his young family and just how good it is to be Pat Green these days.

Your current album “Cannonball” has received a lot of positive reviews. That has to make you feel good.

“Critical acclaim can be a knife in the back, but I think as a musician that I have a responsibility to move on and go with the time. I am certainly excited about knowing that guys like Kenny Chesney and Dave Matthews want me on tour. I think what I realized when I was out with Dave Matthews is how inclusive music is. He didn’t have to have me out there; he could have picked any one in the world. That’s a statement to where I am in my career that my music has a wider appeal than just country. I hope so. I want to have as much appeal as I can. I don’t want to scrimp and save.”

You have a wife, a 3-year-old son and a 9-month-old daughter and a heavy tour schedule. Is it hard to be away from your family so much?

“It’s hard on anybody to be away from the kiddos. But it’s a sacrifice that you make. Everybody has to make sacrifices and I think that what I am doing is worth it. I think I’m in a great spot. They come out on tour with me quite a bit. And when I leave, my son is like OK daddy I’ll see you on TV. It’s a good connection. I hate missing my kids, but to be completely frank, I don’t think there is a downside to having my job. If it was too much to bear, I wouldn’t do it. I love my job. People in our industry shouldn’t be able to complain. I play music to escape and I mastered escapism a long time ago. If you can’t have fun at my show, it’s not my fault. I’ve done what I am supposed to do.”

What’s it like seeing yourself play in videos on Country Music Television or Great American Country?

“It’s not natural to see yourself on TV; I think that’s a natural, human inclination. But any measure of celebrity is a blessing. I embrace it. I think it’s a magical thing and I’ll smile all the way.”

What’s the appeal of your current hit “Dixie Lullaby”?

“It’s an honest story. The only way to really connect with people is to tell the truth. And that’s how I learned to love my wife by watching my folks. It’s a love story and a story of life. It’s the reason why Hallmark cards are the same way. With me, I have to tell a story in three minutes so I better tell it well. Like with ‘Wave on Wave’ it has a wide enough appeal because of its ambiguity. You can make it about whatever you want it to be; about God, some person or some feeling. That was the magic of that particular song. That’s the thing about country music. Some days I write something special or not or you wake up and it’s the biggest hit of your life. I had no idea what I was doing when I wrote ‘Wave on Wave.’ At least I learned from that experience.”

Do you watch “American Idol”?

“I watch it when I hang out with my wife. I think everybody has to have a vehicle if they want to be in the business. I’m friends with Carrie Underwood, who I think is the greatest success story out of that deal. It’s not a path that I could have taken; I would have been shot down in the first five minutes of the tryouts me singing without a guitar. I can’t sing without my band. The learning curve is completely backward. I learned by being on stage since I was 19.”

What’s on your iPod?

“I am fired up about the new Jack Ingram record that I got an advance copy of. He’s coming on strong. I’m glad he is a friend of mine. He’s got something to say and he puts heart and soul in his music.”

Learn more about Green here.

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