The Austin Chronicle

'ACL' Live Shots

By Christopher Gray, October 4, 2002, Music

Pat Green

Zilker Park, Saturday, Sept. 28, 8:45pm

Pat Green loves Texas. That much is obvious. Not counting songs in Saturday's set that overtly said so (i.e., Django Walker's "Texas on My Mind") he still fired off enough Lone Star references to fill the Cotton Bowl: barbecue, rodeos, dance halls, highways, Willie, etc. Incidentally, he also professes to enjoy drinking beer. Though arguably the premier practitioner of the diffidently named subgenre known as "Texas Music," Green's long-sleeved jersey, blue jeans, and bare feet made him look more like a Goo Goo Doll than the heir to Robert Earl Keen's "rowdy crowd." Likewise, the acoustic-strumming frontman and his seven-piece band's sound was country only if an obvious familiarity with Steve Earle's Guitar Town and the collected works of Lynyrd Skynyrd make it so. Green's musical roots lie squarely within the realm of Seventies and Eighties AOR; that helped explain the 20-minute medley of "Born to Be Wild," Tom Petty's "Runnin' Down a Dream," and the Doors' "L.A. Woman." But his own songs are the same: The bronco-busting "Texas in 1880" is closer to John Mellencamp than anything Guy Clark or Townes Van Zandt ever wrote, and recent regional hit "Three Days" is just REO Speedwagon's "Take It on the Run" with a bigger belt buckle. Green earned bonus points for a verbal swipe at chuckleheaded warmonger Toby Keith, but overall, he inadvertently revealed why he pays such heavy lip service to Texas in his songs: Otherwise, no one would know where he comes from. Nor would they care.

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