Green is a nice chap who would never kill someone’s horse or steal their boots,...
Sue Keogh 2004
Pat Green is one of those artists that feels like a newcomer, but looks like he's been round the block a few times and has a story to tell.
Spotted by Willie Nelson and asked to perform at one of his famous 4th July Picnics (captured on 1999's Live At Billy Bob's), Green released five albums independently before 2001's Three Days came out on major label Universal. Nelson continued to show his support for his fellow Texan with the duet "Threadbare Gypsy Soul", and the album received praise for its strong songwriting and typically Texan sound. Follow up Wave On Wave (2003) fared less well, with accusations from some quarters that Green had sold out and produced homogenous country-rock.
With Lucky Ones he seems to have found a middle ground; somewhere between credible and mainstream, like a jollier Robert Earl Keen or a younger Jerry Jeff Walker. There's a strong link with John Mellencamp too, not just from the southern rock sound, but because they share a producer in Dave Gehman and a couple of stalwarts from Mellencamp's band - David Grissom and dreamy alternative rocker Lisa Germano are present throughout the album, on guitar and strings respectively.
The songs are co-written with a variety of artists, mostly Texan, and you can feel the influence from each. "Somewhere Between Texas And Mexico" is the most immediately catchy, but then it did come from Trent Summar and Irene Kelley, whose delightful "A Little Bluer Than That" was picked up by Alan Jackson on his Drive album. Writing with Radney Foster ("It's Time", "Lucky Ones") draws out the story songs, but the collaborations with Rob Thomas ("My Little Heaven", "Baby Doll") produce the same kind of frat boy rock that has made his band Matchbox Twenty so big in the States.
The best two collaborations are with Brad Paisley and Ray Wylie Hubbard. Paisley is in goodtime mode on "College", a suitably perky and daft little salute to those carefree days of hanging round drinking beer and ogling women. Typically, the Hubbard contribution - album closer "Sweet Revenge" - has more bite to it, with the rhythmic slide guitar providing a slightly more menacing sound than what came before. However, by this point you'll be convinced that Green's a nice chap who'd never kill someone's horse or steal their boots, whatever the lyrics say.