A force to be reckoned with in the Texas Music scene, William Clark Green just finished up the release of a new album “Live at Gruene Hall” and will be performing at Wolf Pen Creek Amphitheatre on October 1 along with the Turnpike Troubadours and Shane Smith & The Saints. With Green being such a well-known name, we were excited to talk with him to discuss the process that has brought him here, the experiences he has had, his connection with College Station, and his plans for the future.
MW: In middle and high school, you called College Station home. With the Texas Country scene being so predominant here, what is it like to come back and be a part of that music scene instead of watching it?
WCG: It’s very surreal almost because my first concert that I ever went to was Clay Walker at Reed Arena, and the second concert I went to was at Wolf Pen Creek Amphitheatre. I can’t remember if it was Ragweed, Pat Green, Jerry Jeff Walker, or Robert Earl Keen. It was one of those four, but I can’t remember which was first because I went to all the Wolf Pen Creek shows back in the day when they first started having them. But to come back and be a part of it is surreal. I mean back then if I would have known what we were going to achieve in the music business when I was learning how to play guitar back in College Station in high school, I would have freaked out. It has been such a slow and steady, gradual growth throughout the years, especially writing since 8th grade to being 30 years old now and having a career in it. It has been such a slow, gradual growth that it’s so hard to see it. If we started from scratch and ended up where we are now over night I would be freaking out, but it has been a step at a time, a baby step at a time. Every year it’s one more step closer, and then at the end you get to the top and you fall back down. It’s crazy. I remember being in middle school and high school when I was writing songs. I wasn’t one of those kids that was like I’m going to be a country music singer or I’m going to be the next Pat Green and stuff. Hell, I didn’t even think it was possible. I wrote to write. It wasn’t even a thought in my head that I could do it professionally.
MW:I know you play in a lot of college towns like Lubbock, College Station, and Stephenville. From all of the shows you have played, what is the craziest or most memorable thing that has happened?
WCG: Well, Larry Joe Taylor Fest is probably the craziest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. Chilifest is up there too, but Larry Joe Taylor fest is absolutely the craziest Texas festival I’ve ever been a part of. I’ve seen some very bizarre things there, things you probably don’t want to hear.
MW: Well that sounds fair. I’m sure you’ve made a lot of interesting memories! It sounds like you’ve experienced things with some really interesting people too! Who have you played with live and could you name an artist you hope to perform with in the future?
WCG: Man, that’s a great question. You know, we’ve done so many bucket list things that it’s kind of running thin. It has been an incredible two years, but I would love to sit on stage and swap songs with Lyle Lovett! But I would be such a nervous wreck that I wouldn’t even enjoy it, and I would be so down on myself about how bad I was doing. You know, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy it so it’s kind of like catch-22.
MW: That does sound intimidating!
WCG: Oh my God, I mean, you’re talking about one of my heroes. Guy Clark was always one of my favorites; he passed away earlier this year, and I never even got to see him play live. I had the opportunity to go the last few years and I did not take it, and I am regretting that the most.
MW: Oh, wow! I’m sure all young musicians are influenced by and dream of performing with their favorite artists. With that, who were your favorite musicians growing up and how have they affected your music?
WCG: Well, my favorite is Davis Willside Ramsey, and he came out with one album in like the 70s, ’78 I think, and that was the album that got me involved in Texas music. You have to think, when I was growing up Internet was a thing but no one had it. We didn’t have it at the house, so music was not accessible at your fingertips. Whatever you had in your CD player was what you had, and a CD was $15.99 and if you weren’t 18 years old, it couldn’t have any cuss words on it. Now it is so accessible. Back then I listened to my dad’s records because it was free and it was what was accessible. If I got work out with a CD, I would just go into his collection and pick another one, but my dad gave me that CD when I was a child, before I lived in College Station. I listened to it and it started me in the whole Texas music scene. Then I found out who Guy Clark was and then Robert Earl Keen, Lyle Lovett, Pat Green and Ragweed were just starting to come up. Then it was like this whole scene was created out of nowhere and it was just really cool.
MW: It is so cool how you sought out this music and were so interested from an early age.
WCG: My dad has an incredible taste in music. My dad is an Aggie, my mom is a Longhorn, and all three kids went to Tech, so we are about as divided as they come. My dad went to medical school, and when he studied he listened to music so he has a ridiculous CD collection. That was always something we had growing up from him; there was always good music playing at the house.
MW: Your fans are very excited about the release of your “Live at Gruene Hall” album that I was able to listen to. Aside from that album, is there any new music in the works that you can tell us about?
WCG: I am literally in Nashville right now in talks with our producer for the next project, and I’m kind of on the end of the live record release, so once Friday hits my mind is going to reset and go into making the new record. I can’t promise when it is going to be done because every time I say a release date, I’m wrong on it. I’m hoping for summer or fall of next year.
MW: That’s exciting! Some artists have very unique habits when it comes to the writing process. How long have you been writing music and what is the writing process like for you?
WCG: I started writing music in 8th grade when I was in College Station. When I moved to College Station, it was the summer after 6th grade and I didn’t have any friends, and there were free guitar lessons at St. Mary’s Catholic Church on Church St. right by the Dixie Chicken. My cousin was going to A&M at the time, he was a freshman, and so we took the free lessons because my dad had a guitar lying around. I had always wanted to do it, and I didn’t have anything else to do that summer anyways, so we learned the guitar together and as soon as I started learning how to play guitar, I’m not 100% sure when it was that I wrote my first song, but I would guess it was the year after that. So 8th grade I started writing my own songs. They weren’t good songs or anything, but it was always the song writing aspect of things that was important to me, I always just wanted to create a song it seemed like. And like I said, back then I wasn’t writing songs for people to listen to; I was just writing to write. I didn’t know why I was doing it; I just wanted to. It just kind of kept going from there, and the passion was always just there. There was really no influence other than just wanting to be like Jerry Jeff Walker or people like that.