William Clarke Green visits the haunted ‘Baker Hotel’ | Music

Growing up in tiny Flint, Texas, William Clarke Green had heard stories about the Baker Hotel in Mineral Wells, about a couple hundred miles away west of Fort Worth.

Going to college at Texas Tech, I encountered more and more tales of the mysterious hotel, stories that triggered him to get out a pen and guitar.

“I’ve lived in that area for so many years, you kind of hear of all that stuff, all the rumors, all the stuff about it being haunted,” Green said. “All my buddies jumped off the hotel. I thought it would be cool to write a Norman Rockwell-type All-American story where these kids break into this hotel. It took years and years, but last year I got it done.”

Not only did Green, who’ll return to Lincoln for a Royal Grove show Friday, write and record the song. I created a treatment for a video that’s become an attention-grabber, generating thousands of views and hundreds of comments, many of them from people who broke into the hotel when the kids were kids.

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“The video’s just following the song, doing our best to visualize it,” Green said. “We wrote a template, then our video guy put it together. We were able to shoot the video in the hotel.

“The lead contractor for the remodel ended up being a huge fan of ours. It just kind of worked out. We weren’t expecting any access. There’s all kinds of liability with all the construction and everything. But they let us in and we got to do everything we wanted.”

“Baker Hotel” is the title cut of Green’s sixth album that’s another showcase for Green’s hard-to-pigeonhole Americana, with styles that run from country and singer/songwriter folk to rock ‘n’ roll.

“I’m just trying to be as creative as possible,” Green said. “The same feeling song after song is dull to me. That’s what we’ve always done is just try to be different than what everyone else is doing. … I want it to be different, so that’s a (commercial) sacrifice. As a fan, I understand. When I hear a Chris Knight record, I want to hear a Chris Knight record. But as an artist, I can’t do that.”

But Green’s drive to be different and his determined independence that has him releasing music on his Bill Grease Records and running his career has put him in a position to succeed — by constant touring for 15 years, spreading out from Texas to the Midwest and then the rest of the country.

“Our business model is set up perfectly,” Green said. “The money (from recording sales) has dried up. It’s all touring. It’s all merch. What’s amazing is that it puts all the power in the fan. For guys like me, it’s amazing. We used to worry about labels and radio. Now we’ve got as much playing field as the big guys do.”

That lets Green have a career on his own terms — “I don’t want anybody telling me what to do and how to do it, and now I don’t have to.”

Reach the writer at 402-473-7244 or kwolgamott@journalstar.com. On Twitter @KentWolgamott

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