Pat Green

Songs We Wish We'd Written, Vol. 2

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Texan Pat Green may look like the country boy next door, but he has a rocker's heart, and he's another in a long line of those maverick musicians who seem to keep popping up out of Texas, artists like Waylon Jennings and Joe Ely, who blur genres, build bridges, and damn well know a good song when they hear it. Green released an album of cover songs, Songs We Wish We'd Written, in 2001, and it sold impressively as an independent release, which springboarded Green to major-label land. Long a huge draw in Texas, Green has yet to springboard to that level in the rest of the country, and being termed a southwestern Bruce Springsteen may or may not help him make that leap. Meanwhile, he's delivered a second volume of Songs We Wish We'd Written a little over a decade later, this time on Sugar Hill Records. It's an interesting set list, and the best tracks here, which include the fine version of Joe Ely's "All Just to Get to You" that opens things, the secular pop gospel glow of Warren Haynes' "Soulshine," and a surprising re-imagining of Tom Petty's "Even the Losers," which starts out as a piano ballad and then blooms into a fully orchestrated one (and it works even when it seems like it shouldn't, shifting the focus to Petty's defiantly wise lyrics), all show why Green is so popular in his home state. Yeah, he's willingly treading water here, simply tipping his hat to songs he loves, but the last time he put out an album like this, he got noticed by larger labels. This guy really deserves a wider audience, and while this probably won't deliver that, it would be a delight to hear Green perform any of these songs live.

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