"I take a page out of the old Willie Nelson book," says Green. He relates a story about Nelson golfing with former University of Texas football coach Darryl Royal until he told him he had to leave to go into the studio to record with some foreign guy who sold millions of albums and was a hit with the women. Royal supposedly didn't understand the need, but the result was "To All the Girls I've Loved Before," the big hit for Nelson and Julio Iglesias.
"Why would I record with Rob Thomas?" Green asks rhetorically. "15 million records sold, you know. He's a master of his art."
Another change is that unlike most previous albums, Green toned down the story songs on this collection mainly of love songs. Green indicates that was not done on purpose.
"That's a reflection of where I am as a person," says Green without being too specific. "My life is changing all around me. I'm in an emotional place right now where that stuff is just bunching up on me. That release (songwriting) is so much fun and so right at times. Just to get it off your system - to put it on the plate and see what happens, see what sticks."
"My motto is don't fight the song. If the song is coming out, write the song. If a story song is coming out, write it."
On the country side, probably the most unforeseen collaboration would have been Green with ace guitarist and traditional country singer Brad Paisley.
Green and Paisley came up with "College," the only particularly humorous song on the album and the type of song you could definitely hear the college frat boys - a key component of Green's Texas following - singing with gusto.
The song is about a father giving his son, who had been caught buying a six pack with a fake ID, some sage advice - "he said son there's a time and place/for just about everything/It's called college."
But college turns into empty pizza boxes stacked around the beer "a couple of beers on a Tuesday and one in the afternoon/Hey college/Those were the best days of my life/I found my friends myself my wife/I learned almost everything that I know/without ever gaining knowledge."
Paisley and Green trade off lines, each doing the fun song justice.
Some would say it's interesting that Green and the traditionally-minded Paisley joined forces, especially considering the pair certainly approach their view of country music from different perspectives.
The two met while preparing for the Grammys a few years ago when both were nominated for best country song, but neither won.
"He's such a great artist," says Green. "He's a museum piece of a guitar player. He's a Grammy-nominated several times over songwriter."
"I'm trying to model myself after what Willie was - if you can sing with someone else, do it (Willie has done a ton of singing with others for decades). I'm doing this as music for me and the guys in my band as much as anybody else. Just like Willie, I owe it to everyone to leave no stone unturned and go as far as I can. Throw caution into the wind if you will."
Green indicates that the two didn't write under the easiest of circumstances, especially since the album was done.
"I was so tired that night," Green recalls. "I think it started with something Brad said. That was the very last day in the studio. He had also been touring... We were both so tired. It was really a labor of love. I think we were both real happy when the day was done...That song was a total add on...It's me to a T."
When questioned if life at Texas Tech was about guzzling beer and inhaling pizza and not getting an education, Green says, "in a great many ways, yeah."
But Green did graduate with a general studies degree in 1997, 7 years after he started.
"It was a gray area," Green jokes about graduating. "I'm still not sure what it was about."
"I got a degree," he says seriously. "I was very proud of that. I don't care what anybody says. If you've got a degree, you've done some work. You've done your work. I see a lot of people cussing themselves because they didn't take the opportunity."
Green wrote with Ray Wylie Hubbard for the first time ever and came out with the dark acoustic-based "Sweet Revenge," which closes the disc. Radney Foster contributed the title track and co-wrote "It's Time" with Green.
Green was born in San Antonio, but grew up in Waco.
He apparently got the musical bug from his father, a stockbroker, who acted in regional theatre musicals throughout Texas and mother, who also acted.
"I think it was within me to begin with," says Green of performing. "Watching my dad work the crowd was fantastic for me. I loved that experience. I loved (the idea) of having that power over people."
"It was just a neat thing to have - seeing your parents perform on the weekend and being creative. It was just a wonderful environment for a child to see some passion from their parents. They didn't get any money out of it."
Green played music in his younger years, but his instrument of choice was drums in a high school band. "We played all kinds of stuff, rock music, AC/DC to the Pointer Sisters."