Lee Greenwood may be thought of as more patriotic and George Strait might be the tallest Texan on country radio, but few can draw raw, raucous, holiday-hootenanny excitement in volumes like Pat Green.
And when I say "raw, raucous, holiday-hootenanny excitement" what I mean is scantily-clad, beer-chuggin', two-steppin' college kids, former college kids and middle-aged adults embarrassing themselves by trying to act like college kids.
Which makes Green a perfect choice to headline Houston's annual Fourth of July, Freedom Over Texas fireworks party at Eleanor Tinsley Park. The 38-year-old Green optimizes the Texas singer-songwriter dream come true. As an 18 year-old Texas Tech student, the San Antonio-born, Waco-raised guitar player busked for beer money in the bars and clubs around Lubbock.
Those modest gigs caught the ears of the right people.
By 1995, Green released his first solo album, Dancehall Dreamer, with the help up country music maestro Lloyd Maines (an excellent pedal steel player and producer in his own right, you might know him better as the father of Dixie Chick Natalie Maines). Within three years of that, Green was shimmying with the Red Headed Stranger at the Willie Nelson Fourth of July Picnic festival.
It didn't take long for Green to find a record deal and a fan base beyond the Lone Star borders. His major label debut, Three Days, set the stage for 2003's Wave on Wave album which went to No. 2 on the Billboard U.S. Country charts. The title track became a monster hit and solidified him as a superstar on college campuses all over the country.
Green's latest, last year's What I'm For, also went to No. 2 on the charts (C'mon people. Let's buy a few more copies of his next album and help this Texan get to No. 1) and easy-feeling singles like Country Star and the title track should be showcased at this celebration of America's birthday.
Come early to Freedom Over Texas and enjoy the All-American Kids Zone and the military vehicle exhibit in Liberty Park. Stay late for Green's show to watch the young (and young at heart) swig-and-sway as they sing along.
Sunday, July 4
Pat Green (headlining the Freedom Over Texas, Houston's official Fourth of July Celebration), 4 p.m. - 10 p.m. at Eleanor Tinsley Park
Free and open to the public.