Pat Green didn't just put "Texas country" on the map, he has been a crucial figure in the creation of an entire genre of Southern popular music. Today Texas country (or "Red Dirt") is its own thriving business outside the Nashville mainstream, somehow both more country than country and more rock and roll than rock and roll. Just now 40, Green did this by pushing his band to the hilt both onstage and on the road, while pushing Texas to the hilt in his songs. It all goes back, though, to a handful of albums like 2001's Three Days and Songs We Wish We'd Written, his collection of duets with buddy Cory Morrow released that same year. Green eventually got seduced by Music City and released a few lackluster albums (Wave on Wave, Cannonball), but he's back in Texas and has come full circle with another covers set, Songs We Wish We'd Written Vol. II. Green's debut on North Carolina indie SugarHill Records, the album ranges from Tom Petty's "Even the Losers" and Joe Ely's "All Just to Get to You" to Lyle Lovett's "If I Had a Boat" (with Morrow back again) and a stunning version of the Allman Brothers Band's "Soulshine" with Monte Montgomery. Judging by the interviews he's been giving since moving back, Green couldn't be happier, and the fruits of Songs Vol II are alone reason to smile. Joining him at the track Saturday is gonzo legend Jerry Jeff Walker, Louisiana neighbor Sammy Kershaw ("She Don't Know She's Beautiful"), "14 Carat Mind" diamond in the rough Gene Watson, and more. The show is a benefit for the Coastal Conservation Association, so the $30 ticket also includes a one-year membership. CHRIS GRAY
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