Country rocker Pat Green back at Belly Up Aspen on Friday
IF YOU GO …
Who: Pat Green
Where: Belly Up Aspen
When: Friday, Jan. 10, 8:30 p.m.
How much: $30-$75
Tickets: Belly Up Aspen; bellyupaspen.com
Pat Green has penned Lone Star state anthems like “I Like Texas” and “Southbound 35,” he’s made party-friendly country rock hits like “Wave on Wave” and “Feels Like It Should,” and he has become a standard bearer of Texas country over the past 25 years.
He brings out cowboy boots and Stetsons in the crowd wherever he goes, including dependably rowdy shows during his regular stops in ski country. Green is on a swing through Colorado this week, headlining Belly Up Aspen on Friday night between stops in Steamboat Springs and Denver.
Colorado was one of the first places Green began playing outside Texas as his national profile rose.
“Colorado and Texas, that’s a brother-sister relationship,” he said. “I wouldn’t want to do anything without Colorado. I love Colorado. I get a little contentious with it sometimes, but when I’m there I’m more respectful of people’s opinions.”
After making 2009’s “What I’m For,” which hit No. 2 on the country charts and spawned the hit “Let Me,” Green soured on recording with his label, Nashville-based BNA Records.
“I was tired of making records by committee,” he said. “There’s some guy sitting in the room with you telling you what to do. So I left and started doing other stuff, writing different kinds of songs. It’s more organic, and I’m more at peace with this record.”
So he came back on his own with “Home,” self-released, in 2015 and including guest appearances from Sheryl Crow, Lyle Lovett, Delbert McClinton and Marc Broussard.
He hasn’t made a full-length album since, but has kept releasing singles like “Drinkin’ Days” and this fall’s “Leaving My Leaving.”
It should come as no surprise that the self-styled, self-made country star — who emerged as a sort of anti-Garth Brooks in the late ’90s — chafed under the control of his label. Green first made a name for himself in Texas and across the South in the ’90s by barnstorming clubs and honky-tonks, selling tapes out of the back of his car. College kids traded his independently released CDs around campuses in the late 1990s, which led him to sold-out club shows, then arenas and, eventually, stadiums like the Astrodome and a major label record deal.
After three self-released records, he signed to Universal for 2001’s “Three Days” and followed it with the national hits “Wave on Wave” and “Lucky Ones,” then bounced to BNA for “Cannonball” and “What I’m For.”
Jumping ship from the majors was a return to his indie roots.
Along with his albums of original songs, Green has proved himself a thoughtful interpreter of others’ songs, on his two “Songs We Wished We’d Written” releases. The first, from 2001, with Cory Morrow, offered his takes on Waylon Jennings, John Prine, Townes Van Zandt and other legends. The sequel, released in 2012, highlighted Lyle Lovett and Tom Petty alongside a diverse array of lesser-known writers.
Choosing a good cover song is simpler than you might think for Green.
“It’s like when you eat a good steak or sandwich, or taste a good beer — you just know a good song when you hear it,” he said. “You say, ‘I want to hear that song 20 times in an hour.’”
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On Thursday, the Wheeler Opera House will host its first virtual event since the novel coronavirus pandemic shut the theater five months ago.