Pat Green remembers his father telling him, “There’s only one thing you can learn from patience, and that’s patience.” After more than two years of waiting for the right opportunity to finally get his album Home out into the marketplace, Green finally understands what he meant.
He recorded the album while he was still signed to Sugar Hill Records, but after parting ways with that label he had to seek out a new partner. That finally came via a new relationship with Nashville’s Thirty Tigers, which is releasing the project on Aug. 14 in conjunction with the singer-songwriter’s Greenhorse Music. It’s Green’s first collection of original songs in more than six years.
Green says he learned from that process, “You don’t have to take the first line in the water. You know, you can wait a minute.”
The 13-song set features collaborations with Sheryl Crow,Lyle Lovett, Delbert McClinton and Marc Broussard. Quips Green, “The older I get, my friends get more famous.” He calls ?recording with Lovett “one of those top 10 moments in life.”
While much of the album sounds like the classic Pat Green that has earned him a huge fan base, particularly in his home state of Texas, the project also has what the veteran of major-label deals calls its “artsy-fartsy” moments. “When you’re making records for big record labels, ?everything’s kind of 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.
Next up is getting 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, who is known to be an engaging live performer. (He still plays 100 shows a year.) “But that’s kind of boring.” In concert, he says, his fans want the “big” Pat Green, “the one on the Jumbotron.”
Part of the delay in finding a label home came from his desire to release Home intact. He explains that the people at the labels he met with “wanted me to record more radio songs … We’re not going for that. We’re going for eclectic, just good songwriting, organic, more down-to-earth [music]. We couldn’t get anybody to nibble, and then finally Thirty Tigers came in and they really believed in the project and were willing to get behind it.”
That’s not to say the project isn’t radio friendly. Poignant current single “While I Was Away,” which is about parents with jobs that keep them apart from their families, has already become a huge hit on the Texas music charts, as was previous single “Girls From Texas,” the project’s duet with Lovett.
The collaboration with Crow, “Right Now,” is based on Green’s real-life experience with his wife of 15 years, Kori. While they were dating in college, he broke up with her on Valentine’s Day. While he quickly realized his mistake, it took her two years to agree to date him again.
“I had to kiss her ass for a long time on that deal, but I didn’t mind,” he admits. “I think that the mistakes and the screw-ups and the atonement and the fixing, that’s the good stuff in life. That’s the marrow. How you come back is more important than how you got there.”
This article first appeared in Billboard’s Country Update — sign up here.