Pat Green Comes Full-Circle With New ‘Home’ Album
Pat Green says "I finally found my way home" on the title track to his new studio album, but what does that mean? For Green and his loyal fanbase, the definition of "Home" is complicated, revealing and emotional. In three-and-a-half minutes he explains where he's been and where he's headed. During a conversation with Taste of Country, the 43-year-old elaborated.
"Home" Is Where His Heart Is
Green remembers the moment he began to successfully filter the unwanted noise of the music business from the melodic, earnest songs he was singing on stage every night. It came right of the end of his second tour with Kenny Chesney, the Flip-Flop Summer Tour in 2007, seven years into his transition from independent Texas artist to signed Nashville artist.
“I had missed the first five months of my daughter’s life and I was like, ‘You know, I’m going home. You all are going to have to find me,’” he says. "Right at the end (of his time with Sony Nashville) ... I really just calmed down."
I’m sure there are people out there that felt that way. I didn’t really care. It was my career, i knew I was providing for my wife and my kids and my life. That’s a selfish kind of notion on some levels but really look, I gotta do my life the way I think I gotta do it.
That came about 10 years after he signed his first major record deal and probably foreshadowed what was to come: a long break, followed by a re-dedication to his home state. When pressed, Green says he meant the song as an "I'm coming home to fans in Texas" song.
"I was ready to take on the world / I thought it wasn’t nothing but money and pretty girls / I was flying through the game / I sang the wrong song / Disappeared for way too long / But I finally found my way home."
“I’m just coming back to a different way of thinking about making records,” he tells Taste of Country, sitting in a chocolate-brown, leather office chair, as relaxed as one can be several hundred miles away from home and family. Gray hairs are replacing the sandy blond, but with each is coming time.
“I don’t really think I’ve changed my sound … I like big, bombastic, loud, cranky songs. But just not having 10 guys, 15 guys from the record label sitting in the room telling me how to write a song. [I’m] really just kind of happy to be free more than anything.”
Don't assume regret, however. Green's quick to say he enjoyed his time at UMG and Sony, and while he'd do it differently now, that doesn't mean he wouldn't do it all.
“If there is a tinge of regret, it’s that there were so many people trying to tell me how to do it once you get on that big level," he adds. "At the same time those people were putting zillions of dollars behind my fat ass to promote it, so at some point I’ve got to pay them respect.”
"Home" Is Where the Kids Are
"While I Was Away" is the standout track on Home, an album that dabbles in rock, blues, zydeco and traditional Texas country while featuring collaborations with some of the state's best. Zane Williams penned the track, but Green's sincerity is what takes it to a higher level. He and his wife have two kids, a 9-year-old girl and 11-year-old boy.
“I was leaving to come up here a few days ago, and I had to leave early," the Waco-raised singer says. "And in the summer my kids sleep in. It’s great, because it’s juxtaposed against the school year when we’re getting everybody up at 6:15. So I was leaving the house and everybody was sleeping and I was like, making breakfast for one [laughs at his own pity]. ‘This stinks!’”
“Kids sweat when they sleep. They have that kid smell, you know. I go in there and pull the covers, because my son sleeps with the covers over his head all the time. I pull the covers back and he’s got that little bit of sweat behind his ear and I just kiss him and like (breathes in deeply and smiles). ‘Daddy’s gotta go for a couple of days, I’ll see you on Wednesday.’ He’s like ‘You don’t want me to go with you?’”
“There comes a time / In every man’s life he finds himself staring in the mirror / Asking God for help, or at least, a little hope / But it felt so good and I thought it would last / But what comes like a train, leaves just as fast."
While he still travels plenty, it's these little moments he's trying to avoid missing in bunches. It's working. “I’m having the best year of my life," Green says. "I just don’t have any complaints.”
"Home" Is Where His Art Is
Another Texas artist named Granger Smith has just signed his first major record deal, after years as an independent artist working the South and Southwest — at first — and then up the coasts. Green knows Smith. Smith is a fan of Green. ToC asked the country veteran would he would tell Smith.
“I think if I was going back in time and talking to myself, I would tell me, and thereby Granger, to slow down. Don’t take the first shot over the bow, unless you’re certain the first shot from a record label is exactly what you’re looking for. I think I just would have taken more time to really feel out the landscape and get to know the people and not just take the first offer that came.”
Green was 27 when he signed with UMG, and he admits he thought he knew it all.
“Yeah I was young / Like an old gunslinger / Shootin’ my finger off to any and everyone / Gonna try to slow me down ..."
He never felt bad about signing with a record label, adding that he never felt like any of his true fans left him.
“I think any time an indy band, like we were after college, finally hits the mainstream, you’re gonna have some people that go, ‘That was ours. Why do we have to share it with the world?’ I’m sure there are people out there that felt that way. I didn’t really care. It was my career, I knew I was providing for my wife and my kids and my life. That’s a selfish kind of notion on some levels but really look, I gotta do my life the way I think I gotta do it.”
In 2015 that means eschewing a record team of 25 people calling radio stations to play your song for two men and a public relations agent. He laughs when asked about cleaving himself from some of the creature comforts of being a major label artist, but there's little doubt the payoff of being home — in every way imaginable — is greater.
Home hits stores and digital retailers on Aug. 14. It's Green's 10th studio album, and his first of any kind since Songs We Wish We'd Written II from 2012. He'll be playing shows around Texas through the summer, into fall. Visit his official website for specific dates.