THE GREENING OF AMERICA

Country-rocker Pat Green gets ready to spread his Texas-grown success across the nation, 'Wave on Wave'

It's early afternoon in Austin and Pat Green is multitasking like a pro. Shortly he'll be on his bus for a six-and-a-half-hour ride to a gig in the border town of McAllen, but right now he's taking care of the grocery shopping, talking on his cellphone and being accosted by a chocolate vendor -- all at once.

"You're Pat Green!" exclaims the salesman. "Come try my product!"

A boyish-looking 31, but already practically a legend in Texas, Pat is used to being recognized here in his adopted hometown. But lately he's been hearing "You're Pat Green!" all across the country.

"It's pretty funny, but it's happened everywhere," he chuckles modestly. "I've been recognized in Europe, New York, L.A. -- and at a truck stop in Alabama, when I was going to the bathroom!"

Pat's name recognition -- and the popularity of his distinctly Texan brand of rocked-out country -- has been growing steadily for the last eight years. In that time, he went from playing bars to selling over 200,000 copies of his six independent albums, mostly in the Lone Star State.

"The cool thing about Texas is that going to see live music is a part of life for people here," says Pat, who was inspired to perform after seeing troubadours like Robert Earl Keen and Jerry Jeff Walker while attending Texas Tech in Lubbock. "If I hadn't grown up in Texas, I'm certain I'd be doing something else with my life now."

Pat released his major-label debut two years ago, tasting Top 40 success with his song "Carry On." With his new CD, Wave on Wave, the San Antonio native stands poised to get even more attention.

At the moment, though, the floppy-haired singer/songwriter is less concerned with how well his new record sells than with the fact that his wife, Kori, is pregnant with their first child, due in October.

"It's just been a wonderful year," he says. "I firmly believe this record is the best work I have ever done, and the buzz I get from putting it out is almost the same buzz as having a child. It's just the best that life can get."

From this vantage point, it's easy for Pat to feel like he's taken the right path in life.

"I consider myself a very lucky person to have ended up in a position where I can do my own thing," he says. "I needed to go this way, and I'm glad I did."

-- Richard Skanse

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