Pat Green Carry On (Greenhorse)
Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., April 14, 2000
Carry On (Greenhorse)Over the course of the past five years, Pat Green has accomplished some pretty amazing feats. His audience has grown by astonishing proportions, allowing him to sell more than 100,000 copies of his first four albums combined. When he first started performing, Green was a dead ringer, both vocally and in performing style, for Robert Earl Keen. His songs showed very little originality and his just-bash-out-the-songs character grew tiresome rather quickly. Carry On, his first studio release in two years, shows that while Green has matured some as a songwriter, he still follows a bit too closely in the shadows left by Keen and other Texas troubadours like Jerry Jeff Walker. With the help of producer Lloyd Maines, Green has certainly fashioned his best-sounding work so far, and guest appearances by Willie Nelson, David Grissom, and Terri Hendrix help spice up the proceedings some. But Green's subject matter remains underwhelming. His tunes are filled with cliched allusions to love and small-town life and overdone references to drinking beer and/or tequila. Green may be writing and singing about things he knows firsthand, but others have done it before, and better. The disc's final tune, the ragtime-flavored "Louisiana Song," shows him breaking out of his shell a bit, with horns embellishing the herky-jerky rhythms. But it's too little, too late. Even when he's speaking, which he does midway through the song, Green recalls Keen's mannerisms and wrecks the moment. Green may be making a healthy living by following other performers' footsteps, but a little originality would make him a lot more entertaining.