Huke Green - Featured Artist: June 2011

Huke Green

Mr. Huke Green, what a gentle giant, the man is a down to earth true grass roots kinda man. I was very impressed with his demeanor and attitude when we met last summer, we have been close friends ever since. Huke IS the man that would give you the shirt off his back, just for your word that, one day you would do the same. Huke has done nothing but support me, and my gratitude is unmeasurable. Huke has a new release “Rustic Poet”, you can get at www.hukegreen.net the musical talent is amazing, Huke will be the first to tell you he is no vocalist, he is a musician. His lyrics are deep and are different, I believe he is a lyrical poet and if you listen I truly believe you will like what he has to say, …

TMR: The question I love to ask an artist, who is Huke Green?

Huke: Huke Green is just an ‘ol swampy Folk Singer raised on the Bayous playing around the woods and such. I’ll tell you El. C, when I was a kid I was EXTREMELY shy, I mean to the point of nearly vomiting when I had to speak to the whole class… I was that shy and nervous. Very much a loner and introvert, it’s still real hard for me to mingle and it’s been something I’ve had to WORK to deal with, where with others it comes naturally. My Sister is the same way as was my Dad, so I think it’s just how we are wired. Now when people approach me I usually warm up quick when getting into a conversation… I like to make ‘Friends’ instead of ‘Fans’. If you see our email sign up sheet at shows it reads :”Join our Friends List”.

TMR: That’s an awesome way to look at it “Friends List”, I’m thinking of a street team, but it will be more like Revolutionaries, or Street Soldiers something like that.

TMR: How do you feel about your new release Rustic Poet?

Huke: I’m very pleased with it. I had intended on making a straight acoustic album, with some leads here and there, but I’m glad I went with a few “fuller” songs. I think this album captures a lot of who I am. There’s sparse songs where the lyrics are the focus more and there are songs that have full band on them with electric leads and the whole nine yards. We had the Roots Rock band, The Wayward Sons, kicking around Houston and the Hill Country for a bit, so it’s nice to include a bit of that on the album as well. It’s kind of a well rounded set of what I’m capable of musically. Of course my mind doesn’t like to rest and I’m gearing up for what’s next. We are gonna work on a Front Porch Society album next, which will be very cool… very string band, alt folk roots type vibe.

TMR: I watched the video for Devils Shout, I understand you shot that yourself?

Huke: Yes, I’ve been interested in film ever since I was a kid. I grew up in a house of movie buffs. I shot about one third of it, my wife shot the rest. Of course, I couldn’t shoot and be in it at the same time. I did all the editing myself. Totally in house. We have a little deal called Cinder Shack Records, Productions, and Studio that we run out of our house. We Recorded “Rustic Poet” in the garage, which is dubbed Sauna Studios, as well as Ben Hall’s Debut solo album “Second Harvest”. I’ve had a few folks record in there and we are currently working on Ben’s follow up, “Scars and Stars”. 

TMR: Peggy, I love the lyrics to that song, inspiration for that?

Huke: I’m an observer. I hardly write anything autobiographical.  I don’t want to write the same old song and dance about love and whatnot. Where I live, in the old part of Channelview, there’s a crossroads that some folks dubbed “Four Corners” which has a corner store, some sort of fabrication shop, a Mom & Pop hardware store and some shady characters on the last. I couldn’t count how many drug deals , or, um… men acquiring “Dates” I’ve seen go down there. There’s a few songs I consider my “Four Corners” tales and this is one of them. I see a fragment of time going on with these people… a guy looking distressed on the pay phone (‘Broken Wings’) or a Lady of the night looking beat to hell, as in the case of “Peggy” and I kind of come up with a back story. This is based on things I see around me. Maybe if I moved to a nice suburb, the dark tone of my writing would change… (Laughs)

TMR: Where do you want your music to go? IE whats your purpose behind playing music?

Huke: Well… this might contradict the previous guess of my dark tone changing if I lived in a better place. I’m a pretty straight laced guy. I hardly drink, Maybe a six pack a year, and I’ve never been drunk in my life. Don’t do drugs or nothing like that. I think a lot of my writing is my way of releasing my dark side in a way it can’t harm me or those around me. That was my main reason to start writing. I started this music endeavor backwards. I started with poetry, then I was playing around with the guitar and realized songs are poems with music! So I started writing more in a song form lyrically and it took off from there. A lot of folks start by playing covers, then progress to writing… I currently know about five cover songs.

I think I’d like to see my music take a route where people appreciate the places I take them with my writing. I’d like it to somehow be a positive in people’s lives. I grew up in the Quaker Church, still go there every Sunday I’m in town and a lot of what I write has spiritual themes deep down when you look at it. I figure there’s a reason God gave a shy introvert the gift of writing songs and performing them. Shows He’s got a sense of humor if nothing else…

TMR: How many  instruments can you play?

Huke: Uh, let’s see… Guitar and Harmonia of course, the required folk singer two, along with Guitjo, Mandolin and I’m working on getting the Resonator down. I dabble with the Bass guitar too. This is my favorite aspect of our ‘Band’ The Front Porch Society, we all switch off and play different things while the other guys do there songs. It’s a very cool old time string band vibe but, with a Texas kind of edge.

TMR: I love the harmonica in your songs, is it one of your favorite sounds? Or just fits your music?

Huke: Both. I’ve always loved hearing the Harmonica on Todd Snider, Steve Earle and Kris Kristofferson recordings. I was pretty bad at first, but I was determined to get it down. I really love playing the Harmonica on fellow FPS member Tommy Worley’s Blues songs. I got this old school mic I play it through to give it that dirty Chicago sound and I get to just wail on it! 

TMR: What do you think it does to a artsit/band that plays the same venue all the time?

Huke: HOPEFULLY it builds them a steady fan base. I like playing all over, Bars, Coffee shops, Hookah joints, House Concerts… anywhere and everywhere. I know there are certain venues that are the genre for particular bands in certain towns. It’s easy to find that venue in a town you’ll be playing and stick with it, the fan base for your genre will usually be there regardless. I certainly wouldn’t want to limit myself to one certain venue in a town though.

TMR: Whats the best way a venue takes care of the artist it hires for the night?

Huke: The best way is to be honest during the booking process. I’ve heard some horror stories of bands booking an outta town gig and then getting backtracked from the venue on pay. A band traveling has to plan ahead and counts on the guarantee the venue promises to make it through the tour. One Venue dropping a promise could make a big difference in what each musician can bring home, thus can this guy put food on the table for his kids? It’s just not right  if the venue won’t hold up it’s end of the deal. Be honest up front, If a band NEEDS a guarantee and you can’t do one, let them find someone who can!

TMR: How does it feel to be playing and watching people walk out?

Huke: I usually don’t let it bother me. A lot of time folks who come for the express purpose of seeing us play will tell us before we start they got to bail during the show. I know I’ve had to do the same. On the other hand, when you play a venue full of strangers who hang out and leave right when your done, that’s the pay off.

TMR: Whats the rudest thing someone can or has done while you were playing?

Huke: Never really have problems with folks being rude. We do play places where folks talk loud, lot’s of room noise, but it’s to be expected in a bar setting. 

The only case of rudeness we’ve dealt with was at BarkerFest 2010. We played a Front Porch Society show at a bar in Crystal Beach, TX. We had a nice crowd there to see us play. It’s an outdoor stage and area to see the shows. The waitress kept requesting stuff like “Boot Scootin’ Boogie” and “Play Zach Brown”. I politely mentioned that I couldn’t even name a Zach Brown song and she got PISSED! Every time she came out to bring someone a drink she was mumbling angrily under her breath. The kicker was we had a crowd outside, selling booze left & right and the owner comes out and says “Y’all can stop anytime, we got a Jukebox”! He then went inside and shut the rolling doors… we played a few more songs on principal.

TMR: I was waiting for the “Free Bird” answer but its all about the same I reckon (laughs while holding the proverbial lighter)

Huke: Oh, we have had the “Freebird” problem. In the Front Porch Society, we came up with ‘The Freebird Challenge’ in which we were all gonna try to write a song also titled “Freebird” and when someone asked for Freebird, we would play whatever we wrote. I’m pretty sure the only one who succeeded was Sam (Samuel Barker). I wrote a song that was for the challenge, but it ended up being it’s own animal and I failed to tie in the ‘Freebird’ aspect. Brian Henneman of The Bottle Rockets had a good idea when we tossed around the subject. To do a slower version of the song entirely on Harmonica… kind of turn the audience on “Freebird Guy”.

TMR: Your a really down to earth guy, was there something in life that made you that way?

Huke: The shyness and the ‘Observer’ mindset may have had a lot to do with that. I watched others mess ups and learned from their mistakes… mostly. I ain’t Jesus or nothin’, just try to do my best at being a regular kind of guy. That’s my goal… I got to climb UP to be regular! That guy sitting listening to me play… we may have different talents. Maybe that guy can fix my car. I’m NOT mechanically inclined at all… hell, I’m a fan of THAT guy! Where’s his email sign up sheet!?

We all have different abilities in this world. I’m just some guy with a guitar and a microphone who writes these songs.

TMR: I def relate to this answer, people tell Soldiers all the time we are their “Heroes” the thing is we don’t feel that way, its just what we know, I’m a fan of anyone who has a expertise and loves what they do, I think that’s why I love music so much … the passion a musician has is amazing.

TMR: I know Cristi is very supportive but, does she get frustrated? How and or what frustrates her about you playing music?

Huke: (Laughs) It’s actually the opposite. Sometimes I get the “Frustrated Artist” Syndrome. We call it “The Funk”. It’s where I just want to destroy everything I’ve created because I deem it “Not good enough” but, I think that’s what keeps my mind moving and creative. If I was completely content with my works, I wouldn’t strive to do more. 

She was the big push for me to take my songs public. I had never played in public… so she buys a PA, coaxes me to 2 open mics before convincing me to accept an invitation to play on the back deck of a well known venue. So, either she was flat out crazy or she really believed in my writing… since then, for holidays she usually gets me new instruments so I’ll go with the latter.

Once I tried to make a pic guard, which requires serious patience, she stepped in and took over… she’s made all the pic guards for my guitars. I’ve even had a song that just wouldn’t work, I mean I tried and it was going  nowhere… she convinced me it was workable and then wrote a verse that tied it together (‘Ole No. 4′). So she has had my back the whole time.

TMR: Your pretty involved with TMR is it something you believe in? (hahaha loaded question).

Huke: Yes, when I first read the TMR mission statement I knew I was on board. I listen to a lot of Americana and Folk music not necessarily associated with the Texas Music Scene. When in the early 2000′s the new “Texas Music Scene” came about it was a pretty cool thing. It was completely different than the mainstream Idea of music with what to look like and how your hair should be. You look at that same scene now and it looks pretty much like the mainstream. I don’t know what it was, maybe Pat Green going to a mainstream label and changing his look and sound. Pat was the poster boy for the Texas Country scene in the early 2000′s, so his jump may have made the change. We need to get back to the basics, because not just the look suffered, the sound went downhill as well.

TMR: Feel like I don’t even need to respond.

TMR: Who when they perform just floors you, makes you want to put your guitar up and walk away?

Huke: Danny Schmidt from Austin is one. The Lyrics and mood of his songs man, I was listening to him just yesterday and felt like giving up. He has a song ‘Stained Glass’ that just floors me every time! Sam Baker, also of Austin, Is pretty much the same way. My Hands down favorite show to ever see was Sam Baker at Anderson Fair in Houston. I’m a fan of Lyrics and these two are some of the best writers around.

TMR: Favorite artist to share the stage with? Loaded I know.

Huke: All of them… (Laughs) Man, You got all day? My Front Porch Society brethren have to top this list. I’ve played with some real amazing Talents in this group. Ben Hall, Randy Hill and Matt Ling are pretty much responsible for me being where I am today. I learned a lot of  the art of songwriting listening to Ben Hall, and Randy taught me a great deal about stage performance and set up, what kind of equipment to use to put on a good show and to be natural… even though he’s not a big fan of banter and I like to do a lot of that! Nathan Taylor was also a huge help in the beginning. He is such a seasoned guy when it comes to music. They always keep you on your toes when you play with these guys. Such strong writers that coming with something weak is not an option. Then they throw Jimmy Pizzitola and Matt Harlan in the mix!? Jimmy is a personal favorite of mine, I try to book shows with him on the bill out of pure selfishness just to hear him play. Harlan is such a pure songwriter, he has won many writing contests and had a number one album on the Euro-Americana charts (Which holds more water in the Roots music circles than anything over in the good ol’ U.S.A.).Then the Yin to my musical Yang, Samuel Barker came along and we’ve been carrying on the banner of the FPS ever since. It’s hard for us ALL to get together at one time due to the demand for performances which drag us all over. It’s HIGH praise to hear complements from ANY of these guys, but they would say the same thing if I was to complement them. It’s a good group of people who are down to Earth. People still talk about those Mucky Duck shows to this very day!

TMR: Don’t think he knows it but I’m a fan of Mr. Barkers too. He shall be in the rag as well. And trust me there is no selfishness in booking with a person you love to hear I would be the same with Mr Pardo if I was a musician!

TMR: Where are some places other than Southeast Texas would you love to play?

Huke: Anywhere really. I’d like to get over to Europe, I seem to have a great deal of positive feedback from over there. Last Summer we did a four day tour which took us to Memphis, Chicago and St. Louis. I would love to go back to all of those places. Chicago especially, It’s such a great town. I’d like to hit the Folk circuit in the Northeast U.S. and get into Boston. I’ve always wanted to visit Boston, I blame David Allan Coe for that… and Steve Earle has good things to say about New York.

TMR: Jackson Taylor does well overseas, it seems there’s a liking to “our” style over there.

Huke: Seems folks over in Europe tend to trust their ears on what they like rather than a Program Director of some radio station that’s paid to play a bunch of fluff. 

TMR: Do you feel the market is flooded with cookie cutter bands and artists?

Huke: Unfortunately I do. So many bands should just be called “Randy Rogers Jr.” That’s not a slam on Randy at all, He busted his tail and worked hard to get where he is today, and you have to respect that. It’s these clones who try to mimic what he does WITHOUT the hard work. It just falls flat. All the bandwagon jumpers who have flooded the scene with no meat on their bones. Instead of pulling up the bootstraps to bring something of their own, They take the easy way. It kind of looses integrity. It looses soul.

TMR: People think I like to slam Randy as well, and its far from the truth. I have mucho respect for the man, he def paid dues. Just wish people would stop trying to be him.

Huke: For sure. I may not be the world’s biggest Randy Rogers fan, but I DO know he did things the right way and he paid his dues to get the success he has today. There are even guys out there who’s music I never listen to… they just ain’t my taste, you know, but I’m not gonna trash the guys… they put in the work, paid their dues, and fought tooth and nail to get every fan they got. I might not be a fan of their music, but I support them as artists and good people 100%! I will try to turn people onto those guys who would have a taste for what they do. You better believe I will!

TMR: Shout outs? Name drops?

Huke: I would implore you to check out all the names I mentioned earlier. These guy are the real deal. Put something fresh in your head.

TMR: If there’s something you could tell the world, what would it be?

Huke: I’ll shout it from the roof tops to trust your ears, not some quote “Music Charts” to know what’s good music or not. Unfortunately big money gets big numbers on charts. Once that kind of money gets involved, you have to realize the system is corrupt. Not corrupt in a gangster mentality sense, but in the way that it is tainted by greed and can longer be considered pure. That’s why I back TMR all the way! Support TMR anyway you can to keep it pure. It’s for the people, not the sheep.

TMR: Well I appreciate the support and the belief that I can maybe take this project somewhere.

Huke: Like I said previously, You’re good people. You have a passion for the music and a love for the art of it. Most of the mags out there just feature folks who advertise in them. They just praise these artists/performers up and down, even though you and I know from personal experience that more and more have no heart and soul for the songs. They just want to live that high school fantasy and try to be the “Cool Kids”. TMR doesn’t pussy foot around, your not afraid to call out folks when they get too big for their britches!

TMR: Think one day I could be in one of your music vids? Hahahaha

Huke: I’m actually betting on it! (Laughs)

TMR: Scary!

            Well folks there ya have it! What else can I say Mr. Huke Green gentle soul, amazing friend, bad ass song writer and musician. I suggest if you love the grass roots sound, you head on over to www.hukegreen.net and pick up one or all of his albums. There was no slacking on any of these I promise you! …         El C

El C.
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