With Envy

Maybe you think he can’t sing. Maybe you think his lyrics are trite. Maybe you’ve never even heard of him. Pat Green wants you to know that none of that bothers him. He’s the guy who made Texas cool again, and you’re not.
Green’s songs celebrate Hill Country road trips, dance-hall nights, and yes, beer in his cereal.
Photograph by Artie Limmer

One Friday evening last fall I went to hear a young Texas musician named Pat Green. At the time, the only thing I knew about him was that he sang country music. I hadn’t even heard of him just a few days earlier, when I was having lunch with some of my colleagues. I had launched into one of my speeches about how the new generation of Texans, age thirty and under, didn’t seem to care about Texas anymore. They were too homogenized, I pronounced. They were conditioned on the basic diet of cable television and standard pop music that made them no different from anyone else their age in other parts of the country. They didn’t have any sense of the Texas myth, I continued, my voice rising, and even worse, they didn’t care about acting Texan.

Obviously, you haven’t heard about this Pat Green phenomenon,” said someone at the table.

Pat Green?” I asked.

He’s got a following among Texas kids that no one can explain.”

When I called Green’s managers, they told me that his next performance would be at Jesuit High School, a private Catholic boys’ school in the heart of North Dallas, not far from my house. “Jesuit?” I asked. The boys I knew from Jesuit were the prototypical new-Texas urban teenagers. Many of them were the sons of high-tech millionaires, downtown lawyers, and venture capitalists who themselves didn’t come to Texas until after they had completed their college education in prominent Eastern schools. These boys were drawl-free. They didn’t feel a need to drive pickups or use agrarian homilies. They

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