Pat Green

Wave on Wave (Republic/Universal)

So he's not the devil after all, just another hardworking Texas singer-songwriter of modest talents in the right frat house on the right night--lucky, you'd be tempted to call him, if Green didn't labor so hard growing what he got ever since convincing (not conning, oh no) the homegrown tourists he's a fellow traveler on the Miller Lite Highway. The cynic in me would moan he goes down like Oklahoma beer and lament the evolution of the Texas singer-songwriter as one step forward and a thousand back; Townes Van Zandt's rolling in his grave and drilling himself down to the earth's core. The realist in me would acknowledge that it takes time for roots to develop, much less dig deep, and at least Green's moving in the right direction--away from songs about beer and beer, in other words.

But the music fan in me would insist that maturation isn't the same thing as evolution; all Green's doing is moving from one cliché to another, from drinking songs to hangover melodies equating love with poetry, women with fallen stars and cigarettes and whiskey as the last pleasures of a man dying on the inside. In other words, loads of poor-poor-me songs and pour-pour-me-another-drink songs; also docked and knocked for using "redemption," the calling card of the affable and fortunate man who wants to be taken singer-songwriter seriously between swigs and smirks. "Elvis" suggests the next rung on the career ladder: gunning for the Dave Matthews Band crowd. You've been warned.

 
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