Pat Green has toured with Kenny Chesney, Gretchen Wilson and Keith Urban. He claims a legion of fans, and his 10th album, 2006's Cannonball, landed in the Top 20 of Billboard's 200. He's been nominated for three Grammys and released records on two major labels, most recently Sony's Nashville division BNA. But Green is not a CMT megastar or Nashville's flavor of the minute.
It's probably best that way: He lives comfortably in cowboy hats and sunglasses, his earned blue-collar outlook only matching his Lone Star spirit of nonconformity. Born and raised in Texas, Green sang for cash in bars on weekends and funded his first recording sessions himself. Nods from Willie Nelson and the restlessness of a career performer helped him spread his rambling, rambunctious country rock through the late '90s.
Still, even with opening slots in sold-out amphitheaters, he's remained an anomaly, skating below the mainstream radar but close enough to it to sell 500,000 records in 2003. A Texas songwriter just cracking the Robert Earl Keen mold, Green celebrates the spirit of Texas country in his recordings with a continued defiance of Nashville standards. This summer, he toured with Dave Matthews Band, and—on Cannonball—he blends heavy rock influence with a traditional country base. Truly a bit country, truly a bit rock 'n' roll, Green makes country sound fresh with sweet, fiery melodies and a tinge of good ol' grit. "Feels Just Like It Should" recalls Bob Seger's boogie guitar, and "Way Back Texas" evokes John Mellencamp's rhythmic anthems. Green has his critics, certainly, but they mostly point to his limited perspective, saying he can only write about beers, tacos and Texas. But that's an OK reality for a boy from Waco, no?
Pat Green plays Lincoln Theatre with Jedd Hughes Sunday, Oct. 7, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $23-$25.