The Northeast definitely isn’t the target market for Texas country music, but on Sunday night Pat Green and Josh Abbott Band proved it doesn’t matter if it’s Austin or Boston. As virtual superstars in their home state it’s not often they play in small intimate settings such as House of Blues. By doing so it gave their fans a chance to connect with the artists on a different level. Whether Pat Green was welcoming chants of his band of Josh Abbott was pointing out fans singing along, by the end of the night we were all one big happy texas country loving family.
Josh Abbott Band’s sound is both unique and refreshing. Their most recent national radio single, “Hangin’ Around” is fun loving and relatable. They refrain from pushing their home state prejudice and instead focus on something we all can relate to: “hangin’ around with your girl.” So when they came to Boston, basically the furthest thing from Texas, it was going to be interesting to see the type of message they would push.
Sure, there are lots of Texas transplants living in the region, but for the most part the country fans up here tend to be on the softer side. This plays in well to the band’s songs “She Will Be Free” and “Touch” both of which were met with loud cheers and steady rounds of applause upon the final chords. Intertwined into their set were more traditional JAB tunes like “She Likes Texas” and “My Texas.” The latter featuring headliner Pat Green, making for a nice touch. Of course, it wouldn’t be a successful JAB show without plenty of banjo and fiddle, something that any true country fan has come to appreciate even more in the times of bro-country.
If you’re listening to country radio on the right day you might get lucky and here a JAB tune in these parts, the same can’t be said for Pat Green. Even in the days and weeks leading up to the show you weren’t going to hear his music on the local radio station. While that may sound negative on the surface, it actually served as a positive come Sunday night. Instead of large arrays of “fake” fans heading out to have a good time the floor was packed with people well aware of Green’s music and eager to sing along. Green has never scored a number one, nor has he charted inside the top twenty in the past five years, but on Sunday night you would have thought he was country’s biggest star. From the first notes fans were ready to sing along, and Green was noticeably appreciative.
His biggest hit, “Wave on Wave” produced the loudest cheers allowing Green to pause for portions and let the audience sing it back to him. Surely, something he wasn’t expecting when he and his band rolled into snow packed Boston. What makes Green a truly unique performer is his awareness of the room. Not only did he know what the audience wanted to hear, but he also understood how to connect with them when telling stories. The local audience got a real kick out one particular story in which Green joked that a mere 4.5 inches of snow in Dallas caused two weeks of no school for his kids.
Any members of the audience who entered unsure of Josh Abbott Band’s or Pat Green’s style of music left as fans. They won them over with hearty smiles, smooth melodies, funny stories, and of course good Texas country music.