Stockyard Sessions: William Clark Green on His Start at the Blue Light in Lubbock, His Cotton Relief Fund, and More

William Clark Green, 37, is a Texas singer-songwriter through and through

William Clark Green’s life is his music, he says, and that music will leave a lasting impression on the State of Texas.

The 37-year-old was born in Flint, went to high school in College Station and spent his formative years at Texas Tech, playing hotels and bars in Lubbock as he worked toward an Agriculture Economics degree.

He has gone from playing the same hotel once a week for years to more than 700,000 monthly listeners on Spotify with five songs that have amassed more than 10 million streams. Four of his Top 5 cities on the platforms are Dallas, San Antonio, Houston and Fort Worth.

He counts Robert Earl Keen and Pat Green among his early influences and his career has gone full circle with Pat Green, who likes to joke they are brothers, now playing alongside him at Cotton Fest, his annual music festival and benefit for cotton farmers.

TCC: You’re here playing Tannahill’s, have you played Tannahill’s before?

WCG: No, at the (Fort Worth Music Festival and Conference), I went and peaked my head in the door, I’ve seen pictures online, it looks like a really fun venue.

TCC: We’re at the Fort Worth Music Festival and Conference in the Stockyards, it’s a huge weekend. And you got to speak at the conference too.

WCG: Yeah, spoke briefly at the conference. It was really cool to be able to answer some questions from some young songwriters and I don’t think my path is a path that anyone should follow, but it’s kind of the way the music business is. Everyone has a different path along the way.

TCC: What was that path?

WCG: Just a lot of hard work and being on the road constantly and immersing yourself in it. I think it’s just kind of like the 10,000 hours thing, you don’t really know how to do something until you spend 10,000 hours doing it. We definitely have our 10,000 hours of shows and it’s just been a road of steady growth and getting knocked back. Two steps forward and one step back, you know? And don’t be afraid of rejection, we still get rejected to this day on some shows and you know, it’s not always going to go your way and you’re either going to make it through the gauntlet or you’re not.

TCC: I’ve heard a lot of artists give credit to the Blue Light in Lubbock and I know that was a big part of your start too, right?

WCG: Yeah, I played bar gigs in Lubbock at a hotel for three years before I even got to play Blue Light. Yeah, Blue Light was the first real music venue that I played. I mean everything else was all setup in the corner at a bar with a little speaker. I was playing cover songs and some of my own and just kind of playing a show once a week. Once I got to Blue Light, it got serious. So a lot of credit to them and their 15-year anniversary is this year so we’re all going to go up and play.

TCC: What’s the highlight of your career?

WCG: Man, my music festival CottonFest has been so rewarding and also we have a 501c called the High Cotton Relief Fund and we’ve been helping about a bunch of cotton farmers. Especially with these fires going on, we’ve been on the phone constantly getting supplies and stuff up to them. That’s been, really, a passion of mine is working with that charity and everyone on that committee that we’ve created. As far as playing shows, the first time I played Billy Bob’s, the first time I played Gruene Hall, those were huge ones. The first time I did the Opry, the first and only time I’ve done the Opry. Hopefully get invited back.

TCC: You touched on that charity, what does life offstage look like for you?

WCG: Well, we have kids, so we’re still figuring it out, a 1.5-year old and a week-old right now. Me and my wife are figuring that out. But, I’m your normal guy, cook out a lot on the porch, we got a family farm, I spend a lot of my time there, I’m a duck hunter. I’m just your average, normal dude, always in Home Depot, it seems like, working on something. My wife says I always need to have a project going. My time off, I keep busy doing other things.

TCC: If people want to help out with that charity, where should they go?

WCG: On the Cottonfest website there’s a link that kind of explains what we do and how we do it. Also during Cottonfest week we have a charity golf tournament it’ll be the Tuesday before. The last weekend in June is when the festival is going to go. Thursday we do our silent and live auction and have a casino night. Me and Pat Green are playing an acoustic VIP event. That’s where we raise the money is that night, Thursday night. It’s just been real rewarding. It’s nice to do something good for the community after all the hell we raised back in college. I’m not from Lubbock, I spent seven years there, my whole music career is there, people ask me why I have this event but really my life is my music and that’s where my closest friends are. I’d love to live in Lubbock if it was closer to anything. I think it’s full of the best people.

TCC: We’re looking forward to the end of June for Cottonfest, we’re looking forward to seeing you back at the Blue Light, what else can fans look forward to?

WCG: Just a heavy tour schedule, we’re getting up north a lot more, so just trying to gain fans and play for fans up north and getting out to the Northeast, Northwest and Midwest so we’re constantly touring up there. That’s kind of what’s next for us, is continue to grow those markets and continue to have fun in Texas.

Parts of this interview have been condensed for clarity. You can follow William Clark Green on social media here and listen to his music here.