At a time when many artists are leaving the major-label system to put out their albums independently, Pat Green has gone the opposite route.
After releasing six successful independent albums, Green signed with New York-based Republic/Universal Records for his album “Three Days” in 2001.
The partnership worked. “Three Days” debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart — its peak position — and stayed on the chart for 56 weeks.
Now, not only does Green have a new album due out on Republic, but the company also has bought the distribution rights to five of his indie efforts and will re-release all of them this summer. The albums were previously issued on the artist’s Greenhorse label and distributed by the now-bankrupt Southwest Wholesale.
Green is pleased with the exposure his Republic/Universal affiliation has afforded him. “We weren’t required to be the big hat act,” he says. “We just did our thing. It was so good to be involved with a record label that understood us as a band.”
“We’re focused on breaking Pat,” says Republic president Avery Lipman, who adds that he enjoys working with the free-spirited artist.
“There’s a certain amount of the spirit of Texas that’s alive and well in Pat, both in his music and the way he conducts himself. We try to create an environment here where he can be himself.”
The re-releases will be out sometime this summer; a firm release date has not yet been set. The re-released titles are “Dancehall Dreamer,” “George’s Bar,” “Here We Go,” “Carry On” and Green’s duets album with Cory Morrow, “Songs We Wish We’d Written,” which peaked at No. 26 on the Top Country Albums chart in 2001. His “Live at Billy Bob’s Texas” album is not part of the Republic deal.
His new record, “Wave on Wave,” is due July 15.
Green has long worked with producer Lloyd Maines. For “Wave on Wave,” however, he decided to try something different and chose producer Don Gehman, best-known for his work with John Mellencamp and R.E.M. They recorded the album in Texas and California.
“I love Lloyd, but I wanted to go without my safety net,” Green says. He affectionately describes Gehman as “a friggin’ ball breaker,” noting that a typical recording session would last “all day and into the night.”
But the outcome, Green says, is “the best record I’ve ever done” and “a quantum leap” ahead of his previous efforts. “It felt like everybody in the band, including me, stepped up to the plate on this record.”
While “Three Days” contained both new songs and material from Green’s previous indie albums, “Wave on Wave” contains 13 brand-new songs, all but one of which were written or co-written by Green.
Like “Three Days,” “Wave on Wave” contains a duet with Willie Nelson. The new album also features the vocal talents of Ray Wylie Hubbard and Ray Benson.
To promote the album, Green has made an appearance on CMT’s “Most Wanted Live,” and his “Austin City Limits” performance will air on PBS stations Aug. 30.
He’ll perform a free show at Sunset Station in San Antonio on the evening of the album’s release. It will be sponsored by Green’s longtime tour sponsor, Miller Lite. Green launched his latest tour July 3 with dates scheduled through Sept. 20.
Excerpted from the June 28, 2003, issue of Billboard. The full original text of the article is available in the Billboard.com Premium Services section.
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