"It gets to that point where you're comfortable. How can I exist in this space and make it sound like me. That's exactly what I think we did this time. I had to stretch out of my comfort zone and find new places."
"Some people will look at that and say he's not staying true. Hey what's true? If it's me making the songs making the songs up, me still writing the songs, and me still singing the songs, and me still playing the songs," laughs Green. "We're not backing down. I'm not going to put out a record that I'm ashamed of. It made it pretty easy for me."
Green seems aware that some people may accuse of him of selling out his Texas roots for a more polished, accessible sound, but he doesn't pay much attention. He's the one calling the shots.
"Some people might say, 'oh gosh, he's selling out' or whatever else. If that's what you think, then you just don't know me. I want to do it on my merit. I want to do it with what I have. I'm not going to rely on someone else who says you gotta sing this song, and I'll make you a star'. That's not how it works for me."
Whether Green wrote the song or not, "I have to believe it enough that I wrote that song," he says.
Does the perceived criticism bother Green? "I'm like anybody else. If I didn't wear (my feelings) on my sleeve, I wouldn't be any good at this business. It hurts my feelings when somebody says you're doing the wrong thing because I put a lot of effort into it. I'm not sitting here complaining at all."
Green is off to an excellent start with "Feels Just Like It Should" moving up the singles chart, a story song with direct references to Springsteen and "Born to Run."
Green is honest of his assessment of the song he co-wrote with Brett James and Justin Andrew Pollard. "I really lobbied really strongly and hard (for it) to be the first song. It's not Shakespeare. I'm not going to change the world with a song like that. I felt like it was a good summer song. I knew the song was going to be released in the summertime. With that in mind...it is going to set the tone for this record coming out."
"I'm not saying I'm going to win any awards with that song," he says. "But it sure makes you feel good. That's what I was trying to get across, and we accomplished that mission."
While the disc has its share of uptempo, heartland style, country rockers, like the title track and "Way Back Texas," he also goes for a more heartfelt feel elsewhere.
"Finder's Keepers," which Green wrote with ace writer Matraca Berg, is a soft duet with Sara Evans.
"She was the only choice," says Green of Evans. "I don't know that there would have been a duet without her. I think it's the sexiest song I've ever heard myself been a part of. Every time I hear it, I'm kind of surprised. It sounds so pure. It's a very cool song to me."
The two were not actually in the studio together because of the difficulty in coordinating schedules. "I was just glad that we got it done," says green.
Green says the idea for the song stemmed from having written the words "finder's keepers' in his notebook.
"We sat down to write a song, and honestly it was the first time I'd ever sat with Matraca before. Once you write a song, before you have to pour that emotion right out on the table, if it's the first time you've ever written with somebody, you got to get to know them a little before you start dong it. We wrote a good portion of the chorus and some of the verses. It wasn't really shaking out, but it still had great meaning."
But that was not the end of the song. "I was on vacation at the beach with my wife, and I was up one night and had a glass of wine or two, and I was feeling pretty inspired. I started writing the song. I gave it to Matraca and see what she thought. I thought maybe it was a little over the top, maybe too aggressive...She sent it back with her changes, and man, they were really right on the money."
"Dixie Lullaby" is another emotional story song by Patrick Davis, Pollard and Green about the death of one's father, and Green has big plans for it.
"If it's not a hit song, I'll eat your shoe," he promises. "It is definitely the most powerful songs on the record. There are times in life when you get lucky and find stuff. Patrick Davis came to me with that idea. I was like, 'Oh man, if you play that for anybody else, I'm going to kill you."
"When you're writing a song, sometimes you put in a lot and sometimes you don't put in anything. Sometimes your presence in the room and just the comments that you're making form the song. There are a lot of ways to be part of a song."
"That particular day, I don't' know if I was really on my game when I was writing with him. But it was just enough. It was such a perfect notion."