Gone Country: Bro-country might finally be dying, and Florida Georgia Line are leading the charge

I wrote earlier this week about how Florida Georgia Line’s new single is this week’s worst country song. Allow me to explain.

A List photos of Florida Georgia Line
Florida Georgia Line. 2015 photo by Suzanne Cordeiro for American-Statesman

God, Your Mama and Me” is the second single from the bro-country harbingers of doom’s new album, “Dig Your Roots.” More on that cloying title in a minute, but the reason I don’t like “God, Your Mama and Me” is because it’s not music. It’s a business decision wrapped in tropes that are used to sell records to country radio. And  yeah, I get it. Food has to be put on the table somehow. The music business has always been a business, and that will never change.

But, y’all. This song is bad. It’s not as bad as other songs the group has released (looking at you, “(That’s How We Do It) Round Here“). But make no mistake, the fact that the team of Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard, just as much a producer’s creation than any other boy band, actually sing this new song with the Backstreet Boys on the chorus is no accident.

The duo have talked about how they were influenced by the boy band before, which is appropriate, since FGL is country music’s closest equivalent to a boy band this side of Dan + Shay.

The song traffics in cornball country tropes that we’ve all heard before, complete with the synth and faked drums they featured on their last schmaltzy, Backstreet Boys-esque single, “H.O.L.Y.” Plus, it’s on an album titled “Dig Your Roots,” which is clearly a pandering to people who say they’re not country enough.

“God, Your Mama and Me” sounds like a run-through-the-numbers checklist.

Drum claps? Check.

References to God? Check.

References to Mama? Check.

Religious imagery? Check.

Soaring chorus to let you know they really mean it? Check.

Featuring a crossover pop artist appearance, as is quickly becoming new tradition? Check. It even sounds like a Backstreet Boys song.

But as much as I hate this type of music-by-committee, it is signaling a new era for FGL, one where they’re trying to be taken more seriously as artists.

Laugh all you want at these bros, but they are responsible for America’s best-selling digital country song of all time. They weren’t the first to get famous off of the “girl slide over here in them painted on jeans” shtick, but they perfected it, and it’s been imitated ad nauseum lately. If they try to become more serious, perhaps their peers will as well.

Bro-country might finally be on its way out, however slowly it may be crawling to the exits. I think it’s a telling contrast that “Dig Your Roots” came out today, the same day as Jack Ingram’s “Midnight Motel,” about as mature an album I’ve heard all year.

I haven’t heard all of “Dig Your Roots”; and frankly, I don’t care to. I’m sure there’s some more partying songs on there, too, but hopefully it’s a more introspective affair. Maybe now that FGL has had some success on the party circuit, they can start to make music that actually matters.

The fact that the first two singles are courting more “mature” listeners is telling. But then again, maybe that’s just another gimmick too.

Gone Country aims to thoughtfully explore the country music genre and where it’s headed, with a focus on national trends and buzzworthy news of the week. For info about album releases and concerts, check out this week’s Country Music Roundup.

Questions, comments, suggestions? Let me know on Twitter @jakeharris4 or through email at jharris@statesman.com.

Jack Ingram’s ‘Midnight Motel’: ‘Don’t write a song that you won’t play for your heroes’

Jack Ingram’s back, and he’s more serious about his craft than ever.

Jack Ingram celebrates the release of his new album "Midnight Motel" on Friday at 5 p.m. at Waterloo Records.
Jack Ingram celebrates the release of his new album “Midnight Motel” on Friday at 5 p.m. at Waterloo Records.

 

That intensity was always there, he told me in a phone interview, throughout his whole career, even during his Top 20 cover of Hinder’s “Lips of an Angel,” which he calls “a pure business decision.” But more on that later.

Today, Ingram releases his first album in seven years, and his first since his departure from Big Machine in 2011. He’ll celebrate by playing a free show at 5 p.m. today at Waterloo Records.

Midnight Motel,” recorded independently and released through roots label Rounder Records, is a return to “the songs that only I could make,” Ingram said.

“It’s been seven years in the making—that first one or two years was just writing songs and recharging my batteries. The album’s about those first few years of staying up late, writing songs late at night.”

The album is also about staying true to your own artistic sensibilities, whether they mesh with mainstream radio or not. At this point in his career, Ingram’s seen and done it all, and “Midnight Motel” is filled with the hallmarks of an artist who doesn’t give a damn about being successful on anyone’s terms but his own.

Related: Read our review of “Midnight Motel”

“I believe that the most commercial success you’ll have is when you’re authentic,” Ingram said. “It’s almost like when you’re single and you’re trying to get a girlfriend and it’s not working because you’re trying too hard, and then you just relax and be authentic, and it ends up working out.”

He said all the years at Big Machine were good for his career, but taxing on his artistic integrity, and all the different input from record executives started to wear thin.

“It sounds silly, but if you’re a people pleaser, which a lot of performers are, you do whatever it takes to perform,” Ingram said. “When you’re performing, it’s always, ‘What can I do to make this crowd love me?’ Anyway, I wanted to make sure I shut myself off from other peoples’ opinions…and I know people want the best for me, so I did what they asked, and ultimately, that relationship soured because I like records that speak for themselves.”

“Midnight Motel” doesn’t so much speak for itself as it announces itself right off the bat. The first words on the album are “Love is a broken neon sign, a tattered worn-out suitcase someone left behind.” By Ingram’s own admission, this is a record about “troubled, lasting relationships.”

“That’s all of our relationships,” he explained. “We’ve all got flaws, and they all put us on shaky ground with those that we are in relationships with. Identifying those problems doesn’t stop us from avoiding them.”

The first single, “I’m Drinking Through It,” is a five-minute breakup song that features an F-bomb. Multiple songs feature in-studio banter from Ingram and his band. The shortest song on the album is three minutes long. And most of the album deals with the unhappy side of life, the feelings of regret tinged with loss.

As the title suggests, the songs were all written, and recorded after dark as well, to capture the same timeframe they were written in. The whole record was recorded live (with a largely Austin-based band) with little overdubbing in post-production, for a more intimate sound. Ingram hopes that will resonate with fans who want to hear something real.

Here’s where “Lips of an Angel” comes in.

The song about a late-night phone call between two exes who clearly don’t want to be broken up was originally recorded by mid-aughts rock group Hinder, making it to No. 1 on Billboard’s “Pop 100” chart in 2005. Ingram released a version of the song as the lead single for his 2007 album “This Is It.” Many of Ingram’s fans loved it, while some felt he had jumped the shark. His version reached No. 16 on Billboard’s “Hot Country Songs” chart, but Ingram now says the song was  “a pure business decision.”

“I don’t live under a rock, and I’m honest with myself, so if there’s a time when I overstepped my standards, it was that song,” Ingram said. “We figured it would raise some eyebrows, and it did, in a good way. But you don’t know where your line is until you cross it. And what fans think about that song is much different from what I think about it. I know we did a really good version of a really good song, but it’s also very much of its time.”

That experience drove him to create more emotional content and start making the songs that only he could create.

“I could give all these songs to other artists, and they wouldn’t be able to make them, not because the album’s ‘Sgt. Pepper’s’ or anything, but because they’re mine,” Ingram said. “The only music I really like deals with extreme emotions…I’ve always been a fan of extreme artists, things that last, the things that make you feel. Whether it makes you feel like punching a wall, grabbing a girl, driving fast, I like the stuff that drives emotion out of you. The material that lasts feeds in the outer reaches of our emotional spectrum.”

His new rallying cry comes from one of the album’s cuts, “Nothing Left to Fix”: “Don’t write a song tat you wouldn’t sing.”

“My perspective now, if I end up in Heaven, and Willie’s up there, Waylon’s up there, Guy Clark’s up there, and we’re all sitting around singing songs and playing guitar for each other, and they ask me to play one song for them, I’m not gonna play them ‘Lips of an Angel.’ And that kind of became a rallying cry for me on this one. Don’t write a song that you won’t play for your heroes, not just for this album, but never f—ing again. If you’re that serious about music, if you only have one song to play, make sure it passes that test.”

Ingram will play a free show promoting the album today at Waterloo Records at 5 p.m.

 

 

Flashback Friday: Austin music scene heavies as junior high students

codygraham

Today’s Austin360 cover story, Raising the next generation of Austin music enthusiaststraces the stories of several native Austinites who grew up in Austin’s music scene and are determined to keep its legacy alive. It also provides practical advice for parents who want to introduce their kids to Austin music.

We talked to Cody Cowan, general manager of the popular Red River Street club, the Mohawk and Graham Williams, one of the most successful music bookers in Texas, about their early days playing in garage bands and organizing all ages punk shows.

Cowan shared this photo from his eighth grade yearbook at Martin Junior High. Cowan appears second from the left in the picture and Williams is third from the right in the photo that was taken in 1992.

What we didn’t realize is that the young woman in the white t-shirt in the center on the photo is accomplished violinist and singer-songwriter Carrie Rodriguez.

“Carrie is awesome. I played bass in orchestra with her and she was always the star, even then,” fellow classmate, Michael Gottschall said this morning.

Mohawk manager Stefan Fitzgerald is also in the picture on the far right (face obscured).

And to keep the nostalgia flowing, here’s another yearbook pic courtesy of Michael Gottschall.

school

Members of Russian activist punk group Pussy Riot to speak at SOS Fest

Masha_16
Maria “Masha” Alyokhina will speak at Sound on Sound Festival.

Two members of the Russian feminist punk group Pussy Riot will present a lecture at the inaugural Sound on Sound Fest at Sherwood Forest Faire in November. Maria “Masha” Alyokhina, one of the three members of the anti-Putin collective who was arrested and imprisoned for “hoolaginism” in 2012 after a protest at Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior, will be present. Collective member Sasha Bogino will also appear.

As part of the presentation, the group will screen documentary footage chronicling Pussy Riot’s evolution as a radical activist organization. Speaking through an interpreter, the women will also participate in a question and answer session with the audience.

RELATED: Recently reunited noise trio Cherubs to play SOS Fest

Members of Pussy Riot began a limited run of public engagements at colleges and universities last year, and one of the organizers contacted SOS Fest booker Graham Williams about a possible Texas engagement. The timing for their planned visit lined up fortuitously with the dates for Williams’ new fest which takes place November 4-6.

It also fit with Williams’ vision of expanded programming in the non-music portion of the fest. This year, the stage that traditionally featured comedy when Williams was booking Fun Fun Fun Fest will include live podcasts, interviews, panel discussions and more.

Next year, Nadia Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot will appear as a featured speaker at the South by Southwest Music Festival and Conference. 

Synth rockers S U R V I V E release new track, prep tour

survive
Photo by Alex Kacha

Austin’s suddenly-anointed synth rock kingpins S U R V I V E, whose title track and other key musical elements served as creepy scene-setters for the hit Netflix show “Stranger Things,” debuted a track off their upcoming release“RR7349” via NPR’s Songs We Love this week. The song, “Wardenclyffe,” is a sinisterly synth-scaped hero’s journey with an everpresent undercurrent of lurking chaos. You know, the kind of song that just might send you inadvertently tumbling into another dimension.

» RELATED: Survive members on how Austin band’s music ended up on ‘Stranger Things’

The album, which Chad Swiatecki describes as  “a suite of nine menacing and moody tracks propelled by a small army of synthesizers, drum machines and other related electronic music gear,” drops on Sept. 30. The band will celebrate the release that night at Barracuda before setting off for a U.S. tour. 

Austin360 On The Record: Jack Ingram, Bill Kirchen, Beaver Nelson

OUT THIS WEEK

JackIngramAlbumCoverJack Ingram, “Midnight Motel” (Rounder). After two albums with commercially ambitious major label Big Machine Records, country singer-songwriter Ingram took a long break from the studio, focusing instead on live shows and projects such as his annual “Mack, Jack & McConaughey” fundraiser in Austin. “Midnight Motel,” his first record in seven years, finds him shifting to the more artist-friendly Rounder label. He certainly pushes the boundaries in terms of structure, supplementing a few tracks with rambling intros (“Blaine’s Ferris Wheel”) and background chatter (“Old Motel”) to pull the listener inside an intimate recording experience. Ingram isn’t entirely avoiding commonplace country content: Check the lead single “I’m Drinking Through It” and  “I Feel Like Drinking Tonight.” But overall this is a more personalized record, whether Ingram is signing poignant originals as “What’s a Boy to Do” (written with Mando Saenz) and “All Over Again” or comfortably inhabiting well-chosen tunes such as Blu Sanders’ “Old Motel” and Will Kimbrough’s “Champion of the World.”

Related: Read what Jack Ingram has to say about his new album

Recorded at Austin’s Arlyn Studios with producer Jon Randall and a cast that included local fixtures such as Bukka Allen, Charlie Sexton and Bruce Robison, “Midnight Motel” is a welcome step back into the Texas troubadour realm that probably always has come most naturally to Ingram. In-store Friday, Aug. 26, at Waterloo Records; release show Friday, Sept. 2, at Gruene Hall. Here’s the official video for “I’m Drinking Through It”:

Bill Kirchen & Austin de Lone, “Transatlanticana” (Red House). Austin lives in the Bay Area and Bill lives in Austin, but this guitar-and-piano pair made this album partly in the U.K., which accounts for its title. Kirchen, a regular at El Mercado’s “Mystery Monday” gig, has been one of Austin’s top roots-rock guitarists since moving here more than a decade ago. The idea here was essentially to merge the rootsy paths both players have explored since their 1970s heydays with Eggs Over Easy (de Lone) and Commander Cody (Kirchen). Butch Hancock makes a guest apperance on his tune “Oxblood,” and the rollicking 12-song set gets a fitting capstone with a cover of Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are a Changin’.” That’s as true today as it was in the ’60s, but the continued relevance of these two masters’ musicianship also attests that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Playing Oct. 28 at El Mercado Backstage. Here’s a live video of “Oxblood”:

Beaver Nelson, “Positive” (Freedom). From teen sensation to weathered survivor, Nelson has stayed in the Austin roots-rock singer-songwriter scene for the long haul. Most of that journey, he’s had ace guitarist Scrappy Jud Newcomb by his side, and Newcomb is again in the producer’s role here. He coaxes out raw, rough-and-tumble sounds from 10 original songs, plus a long-overdue cover of Little Steven’s “Men Without Women” that has often sparked Nelson’s live shows since the early ’90s. Recorded in Marfa and Austin, the album includes backing from local mainstays Mark Patterson, Stephen Belans, Matt Eskey, Seela, Rich Brotherton and George Reiff. Release show Sept. 16 at Strange Brew.

Wildfires, “Aguas Frescas (Part II)” EP. On their Facebook page, this four-piece matter-of-factly describes its sound as “more shoegaze than Americana, nowadays,” and that’s a fair assessment of a band that travels mostly in moods even as a few of their roots touches still show. As the title indicates, this is a follow-up to last year’s five-song first volume. Release show Sept. 2 at Cheer Up Charlie’s. Here’s the video for the track “Undead Fun”:

RECENTLY RELEASED

Nori, “World Anew.” Some of the players in this adventurous five-piece have gotten more notice lately from other projects — singer Akina Adderley with Charlie Faye & the Fayettes, trumpeter Erik Telford with Monte Warden & the Dangerous Few — but Nori fully warrants attention in its own right. The nine songs here travel gracefully across technically sophisticated yet emotionally alluring jazz terrain. Release show Aug. 27 at Stay Gold. Here’s the leadoff track, “A New Sun”:

COMING SOON

SEPT. 2: Johnny Nicholas, “Fresh Air,” release show Sept. 10 at Saxon Pub, in-store Sept. 13 at Waterloo Records.
SEPT. 9: Adam Torres, “Pearls to Swine” (Fat Possum), release show Sept. 10 at Cactus Cafe.
SEPT. 9: Giulia Millanta, “Moonbeam Parade.”
SEPT. 12: Flyin’ A’s, “You Drive Me Crazy,” release show Sept. 18 at Strange Brew.
SEPT. 16: Willie Nelson, “For the Good Times: A Tribute to Ray Price” (Legacy), playing Oct. 9 at Austin City Limits Music Festival.
SEPT. 16: Meat Loaf, “Braver Than We Are” (429).
SEPT. 16: Jesse Dayton, “The Revealer” (Blue Elan), playing Nov. 4 at Antone’s.
SEPT. 16: East Cameron Folkcore, “Better Off,” release show Sept. 24 at Empire.
SEPT. 16: Elijah Ford & the Bloom, “As You Were” (Nine Mile).
SEPT. 16: Golden Bear, “Dimensional Place” (C-Side).
SEPT. 17: Henry & the Invisibles, title TBA, release show Sept. 17 at Empire.
SEPT. 23: Katie Shore, “Fall Away,” release show Sept. 22 at Continental Club.
SEPT. 23: Reckless Kelly, “Sunset Motel” (Thirty Tigers).
SEPT. 23: Ruby & the Reckless, “In My Head.”
SEPT. 23: Tele Novella, “House of Souls” (Yellow Year).
SEPT. 23: Tameca Jones, self-titled EP.
SEPT. 23: Gary Clark Jr., “Take Me Back” single, from soundtrack to “Deepwater Horizon” film.
SEPT. 30: Survive, “RR7349” (Relapse).
OCT. 7: Eric Johnson, “EJ” (Provogue).
OCT. 7: Thor & Friends, self-titled (LM Duplication), playing Sept. 10 at Cactus Cafe.
OCT. 21: “Highway Prayer: A Tribute to Adam Carroll” (Eight 30), with Hayes Carll, James McMurtry, Slaid Cleaves, Band of Heathens, Jamie Wilson and more.
FALL: Terri Hendrix, “The Slaughterhouse Sessions” (Wilory).
FALL: Jamestown Revival, “The Education of a Wandering Man” (Republic), playing Nov. 4 at Emo’s.
FALL: Jon Dee Graham, “Knoxville Skyline.”

Lyle Lovett lives Large and gets personal at ACL Live

Lyle Lovett & His Large Band perform at ACL Live on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016. Photo by Peter Blackstock
Lyle Lovett & His Large Band perform at ACL Live on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016. Photo by Peter Blackstock

As the years and decades flutter by like leaves falling from ever taller trees, Lyle Lovett seems determined to appreciate each moment just a little bit more. At least that’s the impression he left in a sublime two-a-half-hour performance Thursday night at ACL Live.

Thoroughly professional yet somehow also poignantly intimate, Lovett and his Large Band — which, at its largest, comprised 23 players and singers onstage — reaffirmed their status as one of the finest ensembles in show business today. But it was the personal touches that made all the difference.

Time after time, Lovett paused to tell heartfelt stories about how long he’d known his various bandmates and how he first met them. There was the Arizona contingent of pianist Matt Rollings and guitarist Ray Herndon, who took Lovett to hear singer Francine Reed at a bar in Phoenix one night in 1984, “and my life was never the same,” he said. There was illustrious Muscle Shoals, Ala., saxophonist Harvey Thompson, a fixture of Lovett’s horn section since 1988 who got roar after roar from the crowd as he recited the litany of legends he accompanied, from Bob Dylan to B.B. King to Elvis Presley to Jimi Hendrix.

For the hometown crowd, the sentimental favorite was Austin’s own John Hagen, who Lovett said he hired back in 1979 at the suggestion of longtime Cactus Cafe manager Griff Luneburg. “Did you know that?” Lyle asked his cellist. “No,” Hagen responded, in what at least appeared to be an entirely spontaneous moment. “I’d like to thank Griff,” he added sincerely, drawing a warm sigh of sweetness from the crowd.

More callouts went to the seventh-grade teacher of pedal steel player Buck Reed, mentioned largely to set up a riotous punchline; and to Lovett’s former principal at Klein High School near Houston, a man who later married one of Lovett’s cousins. His recent death prompted Lovett to learn the Albert Brumley gospel classic “I’ll Fly Away,” and the sterling version he delivered stood out in a midset acoustic sequence that seemed like highlight after highlight.

Two of the most cherished tunes in that stretch came from the late Guy Clark, a mentor who may have played a larger role in Lovett’s 1980s country music breakthrough than anyone. “The world just does not seem the like the same place without Guy Clark,” Lovett lamented of the Texas songwriter’s passing in May, before doing Clark’s memory proud with renditions of “Step Inside This House” and “Anyhow I Love You.”

The set was carefully structured in a symmetrical arc, opening and closing with full-on gospel fervor. The 10-piece Houston choir Brian Dunlap & Total Praise helped to propel favorites such as “Church” and “I Will Rise Up” early, and “I’m Going to Wait” and I’m Going to the Place” late. Along the way, Lovett turned over the spotlight to fiddler Luke Bulla, for the Clark co-write “Temperance Reel,” and Reed, who at 69 still brings the passion to Ida Cox’s “Wild Women Don’t Have the Blues.”

Must-play gems from Lovett’s catalogue such as “If I Had a Boat” and “North Dakota” sounded as beautiful as ever, but perhaps the most enlightening moment came after Lovett remembered a night in Houston when he and Hagen opened for Randy Newman in 1984. A decade later, Newman asked Lovett to sing on the now-iconic “Toy Story” theme “You’ve Got a Friend in Me.” As the band launched into a jaunty rendition of the tune, Hagen sang Newman’s duet role, sounding spot-on in this rare step beyond the instrumental realm.

Lovett wondered aloud, with bemusement, that maybe Newman had written “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” while remembering that night in Houston listening to a World Series game backstage with Lovett and Hagen way back in 1984. Probably not. But in that moment, with smiles beaming all around the room, you could almost believe it.

Thursday’s show came at the tail end of the band’s summerlong tour. After dates in San Antonio and College Station on Friday and Saturday, they’ll return to Austin for a second ACL Live show that will be the final date of the tour.

Set list:

  1. The Blues Walk
  2. I’m a Soldier
  3. Church
  4. I Will Rise Up
  5. Penguins
  6. Farmer Brown/Chicken Reel
  7. I Know You Know
  8. You’ve Got a Friend in Me
  9. Step Inside This House
  10. Anyhow I Love You
  11. North Dakota
  12. Temperance Reel
  13. I’ll Fly Away
  14. If I Had a Boat
  15. She’s No Lady, She’s My Wife
  16. Here I Am
  17. What Do You Do
  18. Wild Women Don’t Get the Blues
  19. I’m Going to Wait
  20. I’m Going to the Place

Encore:

  1. That’s Right (You’re Not From Texas)
  2. Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior

The Weeknd to stage a post-race performance during F1 Weekend

The Weeknd performs at the Austin City Limits Music Festival in Zilker Park on Sunday October 4, 2015. (JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN)
The Weeknd performs at the Austin City Limits Music Festival in Zilker Park on Sunday October 4, 2015. (JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

If anyone was worried that Taylor Swift’s Saturday performance at the race track was going to make this year’s Formula One U.S. Grand Prix a little too family friendly and wholesome, fear not! Canada’s bad boy of pop, the Weeknd, will step in after the race on Sunday to take the event out on a face-numbing high.

Related:  He said, She said: The Weeknd ‘Earned It’ at ACL Fest, but he freaked us out

Formula One weekend is October 21-23. Sunday only tickets for the race and the Weeknd concert start at $99. Three-day tickets that include qualifying rounds for the race and the Saturday Taylor Swift concert start at $150. More info. 

 

 

Austin360 Artist of the Month check-in: Continental sounds of Monte Warden & the Dangerous Few

Monte Warden & The Dangerous Few perform at The Continental Gallery on Thursday, July 28, 2016 in Austin, Texas. Erika Rich for American-Statesman
Monte Warden & the Dangerous Few at the Continental Gallery. Photo by Erika Rich for American-Statesman

When we announced Monte Warden & the Dangerous Few as our Austin360 Artist of the Month for August, we brought the band into our video studio for a performance of their song “Black Widow.” That clip accompanied our feature story on the band earlier this month.

But we’ve also spent some time checking out their shows this summer at the Continental Club and Continental Gallery, the flagship live music venues on South Congress. The band has been holding down the Thursday slot in the smaller upstairs Gallery space for a few months now. Every now and then, they also play on Sundays downstairs in the larger Club room. (They’ll be there again on Sept. 4.)

RELATED: One Night in May, a Thursday on the town in Austin

The band plays all original material recalling the glory days of classic crooner pop. Joining Warden are trumpeter Erik Telford, keyboardist T. Jarrod Bonta, drummer Mas Palermo and bassist Craig Pettigrew (with Brent Wilson subbing on occasion). Here’s a taste of what it sounds like at the shows:

Pat Green on his return to Texas country, writing with Chris Stapleton and playing Nutty Brown

Texas country artist Pat Green has made a career out of reinventing himself, it seems. From an early career gigging around Lubbock to the fame and so-called “sell-out” phase of his career that started with “Wave on Wave” in 2003, to his return to Texas country a few years ago, he’s always been able to carry on.

AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, file
AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, file

Now, touring with a new album (2015’s aptly named “Home,” his first collection of new material since 2009) and with a new EP in the works, Green is set to play the Nutty Brown Cafe this Saturday at 6 p.m. with Kyle Park.

“Kyle Park is a great performer and a great songwriter, just a real gentle soul,” Green said.

The sounds of the two Texas artists should sound like a homecoming to many of Green’s fans, and he’s very familiar with many of the criticisms leveled his way.

“I think if I had stayed in one spot the entire time and not seen what’s all out there, it would have been boring,” Green said about his major label days. “I also think that if you’ve got some producer who’s willing to put money behind your album, you tend to listen to that opinion. But, all those albums later, that opinion can get stale. I love being back in Texas, but those were good days at RCA.”

His latest album, “Home,” features a lot of collaborations with Texas artists and current and former Nashville stars. One of those collaborations was with Chris Stapleton, who co-wrote”Right Now” with Green, who sings the track with Sheryl Crow.

“I’m not even gonna mince words, [Stapleton’s] a serious writer,” Green said. “When we met, we had pleasantries for maybe, like, two minutes and then he’s like, ‘Alright, let’s get to work.’ His voice is great, too— his voice makes me look like a chump.”

The album also features a collaboration with none other than Lyle Lovett, “Girls From Texas.”

But what’s next on the horizon for Green? A new EP, which is where he says the music buying trend is going.

“Used to be tapes, CDs, downloads, and now it’s just moved into the streaming singles market. People only really might want like two or three songs per album. If you’re Taylor Swift, you can put out whatever the hell you want, but if you’re me, you gotta be more selective. But, live, if you pay $25 to see my fat ass sing, you can hear whatever you want.”

He’s also been trying his hand at other aspects of the arts, and seems to be perfectly content with where he is now.

“I’m just trying to be the best me I can be— these past few years, I’ve learned to paint and sculpt, just seeing what other leaves there are to turn over. It’s just amazing to be at a beautiful place in life. My job is to make stuff up, and I just love it.”

Pat Green and Kyle Park will play at Nutty Brown Cafe this Saturday at 6 p.m.