Pat GreenWave on Wave (Universal South)
Love him or hate him, Pat Green is a phenomenon. He's become a standard-bearer for "Texas music," and with Wave on Wave
, he appears genuinely bewildered by it all. On "Guy Like Me," "All the Good Things Fade Away," and "Barricades," Green cogitates on luck and circumstance, seemingly more bemused than smug. Musically, Wave
moves away from mainstream country and more toward rock at times, though the wash of Mike Daly's steel guitar still leaves a C&W stamp on the proceedings. Green brings in Ray Benson and Willie Nelson for the loping R&B of "Elvis," while Ray Wylie Hubbard lends welcome gravitas on "If I Was the Devil." Green's originals are well-written and certainly well-produced (a little too much so at times), but still curiously bland and unengaging at times. That said, the lyric department is where he's grown most in the last couple of years. "I'm Tired" and "Poetry" illustrate some pretty deep reflection and maturity that goes way beyond the Texas-songwriter clichés that have been hung on Green. He seems to grasp that success often disappears as quickly as it comes and that happiness can be just as fleeting. Lines like, "Sifting through your memories deep in the ground with the dead, maybe you were high on top of the cloud with the dragon that lives in your head" may be a little ponderous, but at least he's thinking. Though the hooks could be more prominent on Wave on Wave
, it's nevertheless a strong effort. Will fans welcome this growth? Hopefully.