He Likes Beer

Everybody's a Texan when Pat Green gets up and sangs.

Sam Houston Race Park's between-the-ponies country entertainment has been divided neatly into two categories: those with their glory days in the rearview mirror, and those with their futures spread out before 'em. Lubbockite Pat Green falls squarely in the latter, and is thus also deserving of pity. Not because he's talentless, but because his brand of understated country is out of favor in Nashville these days. Not that it particularly bothers the man, who, like Jerry Jeff Walker and Robert Earl Keen (whom Green resembles stylistically), has nonetheless built a solid fan base without traveling outside the Lone Star State's borders. Plus, the guy gets extra points for writing a song titled "I Like Beer," in which he proudly proclaims he spent "seven glorious years" earning a degree at Texas Tech. Yee-haw.

His fifth release, Carry On (on his own Greenhorse Records), is captained by Texas ¨ber-producer Lloyd Maines and features Green's road band along with guest shots from Maines, David Grissom, Terri Hendrix and ole Slick Willie himself. Although some of his themes are clichéd (childhood reminiscing, wimmin lovin' and leavin', escaping a small town), his wordsmith skills and earnest delivery keep them engaging. Green's reedy voice and acoustic playing easily move from jaunty country-rock ("You Gotta Know," "Rusty Old American Dream") to poignant Dixie lament ("Washington Avenue," the excellent "Ruby's Two Sad Daughters"), all in the space of ten originals and two covers.

Let's be honest. Green will probably never hit the Billboard Top 10 or have his plain-guy mug splashed across the screens of CMT. But he might just be the type of artist who can build a career playing to fans who know the words to every one of his songs.


Pat Green

Performs Saturday, July 29, at Sam Houston Race Park, 7575 North Sam Houston Parkway


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