Pat Green is one such soul.
Green, who hails from Texas, has followed the path taken by few to become a Texan musical hero before venturing to a major label deal and Nashville ties.
Green has recently released "Three Days," his first major record from Republic/Universal Records. He also has signed with the national firm of the William Morris Agency for booking representation.
"It was a long trip to accomplish a simple goal," Green says. "It would have been a lot easier had I gone a different route, but I felt like I wouldn't have been able to be myself or maintain autonomy over my music," Green said. "My plan was to establish myself enough so when I did negotiate with a record label I wouldn't have to be polished and twisted around too much."
With six years of full-time touring to his credit, Green has sold more than 200,000 independently-released records and sells out every Texas venue he plays. And it did it all his way.
If Green can do this on his own, many hope with the support of a major label team, that gold and platinum skies (as in record sales) are just over the horizon.
"We cannot contain our excitement about Pat Green," said Greg Oswald, who will represent Green at the William Morris Agency. "Our company has followed the progress of the Green Machine for sometime. He is an artist with a clear sense of his own identity, grounded in his roots, makes great music and knows the direction he wants to take his career."
Green is certainly headed in the right direction.
His new project, "Three Days" entered the Billboard country albums chart at No. 7, with the first single, "Carry On," currently in the Top 30 on the singles chart. The video for "Carry On" is in the Top 20 on cable's Country Music Television.
Green wrote or co-wrote nine of the 13 songs on "Carry On." He teamed up with pals and songwriting veterans, such as Radney Foster and Walt Wilkins.
The shining spot on the record, however, is Green's duet with Willie Nelson, his mentor.
"If there is any musician I want to emulate, it's Willie," Green said. "Willie has always done what he wanted with his music and people have responded. He's been doing this for a long, long time. I don't believe stars are made or hits are produced. Hit songs are written and the artists aren't shaped or formed, they are who they are. Willie Nelson is a perfect example of that."
To honor Nelson and others who have influenced Green, he wrote "Threadbare Gypsy Soul," the tune on which Nelson sang.
"I was sitting on the back of the bus traveling from one show to another and I started thinking about Willie and Jerry Jeff Walker and Robert Earl Keen," Green said. "I wanted to show them how much I appreciated them ... I started thinking about Willie Nelson's shoes.
"I mean, just think about all the places and things his shoes have seen from the top of the White House to walking around some square in Amsterdam to China and wherever else he's been. Willie's had an amazing life and career. The lyric says 'I've got these crusty shoes down on my feet and I could write a book about the places that they've seen.' It's the story of how I picture their lives."
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