Texas country singer-songwriters Pat Green and Casey Donahew will spend Thursday night in Waco doing what they like best, playing songs and telling stories. And, as they did during a recent Texas Music Takeover tour of London earlier this month, they’ll be doing it together.
The two musicians will do a song pull at The Backyard, playing acoustic versions of their hits and swapping stories in between, although Donahew said his recent experience with Green leaves room for more.
“Pat’s liable to go off script at any time,” he said.
Thursday’s show unites two Fort Worth musicians who share a little more than a basic Texas heritage.
“Pat is one of my early influences. We live in the same town and our kids go to the same schools,” Donahew said. “This is a chance to have a good time and do something together.”
It also lets them emphasize the basic unit of their successes: the song. Donahew chose to mark his 15th year as a country musician by revisiting songs from his early albums, recorded, he admitted, when he didn’t the money for a proper studio recording and backing.
His new album “15 Years, The Wild Ride” revisits some of Donahew’s most popular songs such as “Fallen,” “Stockyards” and “Double Wide Dream,” but with fuller arrangements and interpretations seasoned by fan response over the years.
The 15 songs on “The Wide Ride,” which includes Matchbox 20’s “3 A.M.,” a Donahew fan favorite, captures his early works, but his latest album “All Night Party” shows that connection with fans continues. The 2016 album’s “Kiss Me” was the No. 1 song for the year on the Texas radio charts and his current single “Country Song” hit No. 1 last month.
“The Wild Ride” doesn’t create new interpretations as much as present the songs the way Donahew always heard them in his mind.
“I wanted to give them a facelift as much as anything,” he said. “I write songs for me, but I’ve been able to find a fan base that has the same tastes I do.”
The San Antonio-born, Waco-connected Green — he attended Vanguard School in Waco, then went on to Texas Tech University — has a songwriting career that boasts three Grammy Award nominations and six Top 10 country albums.
He finds himself gravitating back to individual songs, which he plans to write, record and release on a regular basis rather than stockpiling them for future albums. His 2015 album “Home” featured a new collection of Green originals, but the logistics of recording and the economics of today’s music industry don’t align as they once did, he said. “(“Home”) is the last full-length album we’ll do,” he said. “People don’t consume music like that anymore. It’s impossible to make money on a CD now.”
Musicians who write and record a 10-cut album all too often find their fans downloading and buying only the two or three singles they like, Green said. As a result, the Texas country singer-songwriter plans to drop songs two or three at a time online for fans to buy or stream. As a sign of the times, Green observed that the new car he recently bought his wife Kori didn’t have a CD player.
Music isn’t the only thing keeping Green busy. He and FreeRange Concepts opened a San Antonio branch of their successful Dallas restaurant/music venue The Rustic last month and found a reception even warmer than the one in Dallas. A Houston Rustic also is in the works for 2018.
He’s busy with events for his Pat Green Foundation, a charitable organization that supports Fort Worth’s Gladney Center for Adoption, the SEAL Legacy Foundation supporting the Navy SEALS, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the Ben Hogan Foundation.
Next month, Green plans to open an art gallery and studio in Fort Worth.
“I got started in art about five years ago and my little studio is full,” he explained. Green paints, often bold abstracts, but he’s better at sculpture, where his sense of humor and three-dimensional visualization come more into play, he said.
The work at hand this weekend, though, is music and Green is looking forward to another Backyard song swap after an earlier one with Josh Abbott.
“Casey is an absolutely brilliant young artist who’s direct and to the point,” said Green, who noted that’s the kind of country music he likes. “And he’s a fun guy.”