By Jeffrey B. Remz, November 2004
at Green is another in a long line of Texas musicians putting out their own albums instead of owning big dreams about striking it rich with one of those huge record companies in Nashville. The type of artist who can make a living just getting in the van and touching down at clubs throughout Texas, which unlike most every other state, is large enough to support the cottage industry known as Texas musician.
But something went "awry" with Green's plans. So much so that he has even occasionally left his home state where he is a bona fide superstar playing to thousands on a regular basis to touring around the country on more than one occasion and perhaps more importantly having a hit record last time out with "Wave On Wave."
Now, the talkative Green is trying to see if he can take his roots-based country one step further with the release in October of "Lucky Ones," his third for Republic/Universal.
With eight albums already under his belt, Green may find it hard to do something different, but he made it clear doing so was very important to him.
"I think more than anything else, we don't ever recreate a record that we just did," he says on the phone from Winston-Salem, N.C. where he is on tour. "There are a lot of fans out there that listen to music of a band and want them to recreate the same thing. I want (my fans) to go with me. We're not going over the deep end. I think we're making good stuff. I'm very proud of the band we have. I think the record is very accessible and (true) to the make up of this band."
So what's different about the 12 songs on "Lucky Ones?"
"There are definitely some guitar tones that are different, that are a little bit richer. I think song-wise, the songs are a little more thought out, a little more crafty. But in a general sense, it just doesn't feel the same as 'Wave on Wave,' and that's kind of what we're going for. I get tired of watching the same Julia Roberts movies over and over...She gets the guy, and there's a child on the way."
Confident in his abilities, Green says, "That's the kind of forward thinking we're talking about. All we have to do in the music business is entertain people and get people out of their heads for a little while. If we can find better ways to do that every time, we're going to be all right."
After all this time - Green made his first album, 1995's "Dancehall Dreamer" while still a student at Texas Tech University - doing so isn't so easy.
"Sure it's difficult to do that, but if we're going to be worth (it), we have to be able to perform under that pressure. We're definitely up to the challenge. We're not shy."
Not only did Green perform under pressure, he also wrote under pressure.
Writing started about six months before recording the album, but Green only went into the studio with four songs for producer Don Gehman (he also produced "Wave on Wave" and has turned the trick for John Mellencamp, Hootie & The Blowfish, Nanci Griffith and Tracy Chapman).
"No, I wanted it to be completely different this time around," says Green of the recording process. "In reality, I only had a few songs done. I wanted to do most of the creation in the studio. It was a little dicey for a few days."
"I didn't think it presented much of a problem really," he says of being forced to write under pressure. "I wanted it to be a little more of a spontaneous attempt at making a record because that's kind of the way I live my life. I thought why don't I give it a shot?"
Green has done a lot of songwriting on his own, but not this time around. "Wave on Wave" contained three Green compositions; its predecessor, "Three Days," contained six.
"Lucky Ones" zero.
"That kind of surprised to me," says Green of the writing. "I didn't see that coming, but it happened...when it did, I'm down with that."
Taking a jocular look at the situation, Green says, "I think every time I sat down to write, there was probably somebody there."
"Lucky Ones" stretches it out songwriting-wise for Green. He penned two songs - "Baby Doll" and "My Little Heaven" - with Rob Thomas, the lead vocalist of very popular rock group Matchbox 20.
"I had to convince him for a ' long time," says Green of Thomas. He and Green have the same music publisher, which made it easier to get together.
"I was nervous for the first bit, but after the first few moments, it was all downhill and easy," says Green. "I thought he'd show up with a whole entourage and all the trappings of a rock star, and he came out of a cab with a guitar. It was cool."
The two apparently made the most of their day together writing five songs in New York. They kept two saying that "made the most sense (instead) of something that was going to take us two years to sift through and make a song of it."
Why write with Thomas, especially since Green's songwriting was confined to country folks?