Lubbock is known for being a hub for music artists, and singers like Buddy Holly have gotten their starts in the city.
William Clark Green, a prominent Texas country singer-songwriter, also got his start in Lubbock, and he recorded his first album, “Dangerous Man,” in 2008 while studying agricultural economics at Texas Tech.
Green released his fourth album, “Ringling Road,” in April, and his most recent single from the album was inspired by the time when the original Ringling Brothers Circus would stop in Eastland in the 1920s.
Green will return to Lubbock to play on Friday at Wild West, and he said anyone who comes to the show in a full clown costume will get in for free as a promotion for “Ringling Road.”
The singer-songwriter took the time to answer a few questions about his start in the music industry and his new album. Here are some of his answers from the Q&A:
Q: Did you enjoy your time at Tech while you were studying here?
A: “It was the time of my life. I miss it dearly. I have a really kick-ass job, and I still miss college a lot. The main thing I miss is summertime in Lubbock. On school nights, there were a little less people and you could make new friends.”
Q: You actually took a songwriting class with professor Andy Wilkinson while you were here. What was that like?
A: “He produced my first album, ‘Dangerous Man.’ I think it was really after that class that I started taking songwriting seriously. I always took it seriously, but it was never that public. I never thought it was possible up until that moment to actually have a career in it. Having him (Wilkinson) as a mentor was a really cool thing.”
Q: Had you pursued music much prior to coming to Tech?
A: “I grew up in northeast Texas, and then I went to middle school and high school in Tyler. When I moved there, I didn’t have any friends. My cousin was going to (Texas) A&M and we would go to church and they would give free guitar lessons at the church. We both started doing it together, and we started writing immediately. We just did it because we wanted to. You talk about some bad songs, those were some bad songs.”
Q: After you took that songwriting class, how did you go about making music more of a career instead of just a hobby?
A: “My whole life I was always the C student and the worst of the all-star team. I was always good enough to make the all-star team, but I was the worst. Confidence kind of built because (songwriting) was the only thing I was complimented on in my life. When I started getting genuine compliments, I think that’s what drove me the most. I think that was the first time in my life I was actually good at something and it wasn’t just like, ‘Good try, you’ll get them next time.’”
Q: Did you have a certain sound you wanted to have when you first started as a musician as compared to now?
A: “Back then I wanted to make a Texas country album, and that’s what we did. And now I’m not the best entertainer, but I love the art of writing songs. I don’t go in and say a song has to sound a certain way. The music has to enhance the lyrics. If it turns into a Jamaican song, it does. Luckily I have a super talented band that can do whatever the song needs.”
Q: What do you think of your new album?
A: “It was kind of nerve racking. ‘Rose Queen’ was pretty well received throughout the scene. There was a lot of pressure on the next album being a songwriter to produce good songs. I think ‘Ringling Road,’ in my opinion, is the best album we’ve got. I thought the same thing about ‘Rose Queen,’ and I hope that trend continues.”
Q: What is one of your struggles when making a new album?
A: “It’s hard because when you do an album, you wait for validation. You just don’t know. You might love it, but it could suck to everyone else. I think with ‘Ringling Road’ there were some songs that really hit home, and I’m very proud of that record.”
Q: What was your inspiration for the song “Ringling Road,” which you recently released the music video for?
A: “My mom does not like that song. Each album is about a specific city, except for my first album. The song was inspired by the story of the Ringling Brothers, but it was kind of the behind the scenes, what really goes on when the lights go out. It’s just like the music business — it’s just this party once you get off of work. It’s so off the wall, but it’s been embraced. It’s our second biggest song off the album, and I would’ve never thought that.”
Q: There are some country fans who are against the Nashville sound of country music. Do you enjoy being considered a Texas country music singer?
A: “The Texas thing is amazing. The best songwriters and best musicians in the world live in Nashville, Tennessee. Unfortunately, that whole thing is a business plan. Music is made, but it’s like a sweatshop. We’re definitely passion based, and a song is very important to me. I’m very glad that the Texas music scene has embraced us. It is full of really great people and I’m blessed to be a part of it.”
Q: What’s it like for you to come back to Lubbock to perform now that you’ve traveled around so much?
A: “Lubbock is always a blast. It’s where it all started, and it’s home. We absolutely love playing there. The only thing that sucks is that you never have time to go to football games. We’ve traveled all over the world pretty much, and the best people I’ve ever met are in the Panhandle.”
Q: What future goals do you hope the band accomplishes?
A: “I made a deal with myself a long time ago when I made the decision to devote a portion of my life to creating music. The biggest goal was to be happy. As long as that continues, as long as I’m mentally happy and doing what I love to do, I’m going to continue. That’s all I can really ask for. Until that changes, we’re going to keep hitting the road and playing shows.”
Q: Do you think Lubbock has influenced your career as a musician?
A: “I wasn’t planning on going to college after high school, I kind of got conned into it. I wanted to either work cattle or be a diesel mechanic. I moved to Amarillo and worked at the speed lot, and man, that was the worst job ever. I enrolled in school for the fall. If I hadn’t made that decision, I really don’t know if I would be playing music today. Lubbock really was the heartbeat for it all.”