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Ask Pat Green about the best advice he ever got from his dad, the one pearl of wisdom he plans to pass on to his own son, Kellis Patrick Green (born Oct. 27, 2003), and he doesn't have to think long.
"You can't say enough about the word 'honesty,' " he declares. "I think shootin' people straight is the key to life. Whether it be in a relationship or whatever - if you're honest with yourself and honest with other people, that's the most important thing.
"Obviously, everybody's gonna fib or tell a white lie - 'Uh, yeah, I was home at 10:30, Mom.' But I'm talkin' about matters of the heart, matters of faith, matters of money. Things that are important in people's lives as far as living their life. If you shoot people straight, you'll never go wrong.
"And if you're honest with yourself, you won't marry the wrong person, you won't let the wrong person pressure you into getting married. It's everything. It's honesty."
That's why it's not hard to believe Texas native Pat when he says his recent first-ever Top 5 hit, "Wave on Wave," isn't really a huge deal for him. "We've never even come close to the Top 10 before," he chuckles. "But, honestly, all that stuff really isn't why we do it. I'm pleased as punch to have it." He pauses, and a devilish grin spreads across his face. "But I'm just here for the beer!
"Seriously, having a hit does give more people a chance to hear it," he adds. "That's it. We just want 'em to have the choice of love it or hate it."
Considering the location of his record label, some people are probably very surprised that Pat's tune made it to the Top 100, let alone the Top 10. "I think the only way that we got to where we are in the music business is by takin' chances," he explains. "And that's really illustrated by signing our major record deal with a New York label that never had a country act before.
"They wanted us. They came to us, as we were. And they said, 'We don't want anything but the tapes. You give us the tape, we'll put it out.'
"And that's what happened. They didn't want to change me or the music. They just wanted to help people hear it. So everybody wins."
And, as Pat says, signing with a New York label just felt right.
"It's like Dad said: 'You know what's right. You always know right. There's never a doubt in anybody's mind what right is.' And I don't think I'm any different than anybody else. I'm completely comfortable within my skin, so I know I've done the right thing."
The same could be said of becoming a firsttime parent. Pat and his wife, Kori, both love it. "I come from a huge family and always wanted kids," he grins. "But we needed to wait while my wife finished law school and passed the bar. She finally said, 'OK, we can try this summer.' And then summer accidentally happened in January!"
Along with his chart-topping hit, fatherhood has made 2003 a special year for Pat, and it's made him even more convinced of what's "right" in his life - and what still needs to be done. "The changes are palpable in my heart and my soul. And I just feel like I owe it to myself to try harder.
"So I just keep sayin' the job's not done - there's a long way to go."
-- Story by David Scarlett