Overseeing Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood’s Allentown Studios in Nashville, Tennessee, means every day has its share of eventful moments for Citizen Potawatomi Nation tribal member Charles Green.
Green is a Bourassa descendant and grew up in Lubbock, Texas. He has worked at Allentown Studios — formerly Jack’s Tracks ran by “Cowboy” Jack Clement — since 1991. As the studio manager, he appreciates the chance to work in the industry under Brooks and Yearwood, which many tout as two of the genre’s most iconic performers and songwriters.
“You won’t meet better human beings. … They’re funny. They’re genuine. They just really care about you, and they care about people,” Green said of Brooks and Yearwood. “I couldn’t have picked better people to work for.”
For Green, growing up in Lubbock helped instill a love of all kinds of music, including country.
“The drive to sing was so strong that it just kind of led me this way,” Green said. “I think every teenager wants to go off and make their own way. I couldn’t wait to leave West Texas. … My dad was a cowboy and worked horses and cows, and that was something that I had no interest in at all. I thought, ‘If I can get to Nashville, I will never have to be a cowboy.’”
After graduating high school, Green decided to study music business at Belmont University in Tennessee with the hopes of eventually working in New York or California.
“I thought that Nashville would be a great place to start off. Plus, it was easy to let my parents agree to let me come to Nashville because it seemed like a safer option,” he said then laughed. “I got to Nashville, and I just loved it.”
While at Belmont University, he appreciated the chance to experience the city’s music culture and the opportunities to experiment, expanding his skillset and expertise.
“It was a great time in Nashville,” he explained. “They call it the “Class of ‘88” when Garth Brooks came out, Alan Jackson and all those really big country singers came out in ‘88, and it changed everything in Nashville. It was always a really exciting town, but once ‘88 hit going into the ‘90s, it was just a really great time for Nashville, and it was neat to be able to be a part of it.”
During the early 1990s, Green connected with Brooks while working under producer Allen Reynolds, protégé of “Cowboy” Jack Clement. Garth Brooks bought Jack’s Tracks after Reynolds began to have health issues and later changed its name to Allentown Studios.
“When Garth bought it, Allen was his mentor, so he wanted to change it to Allentown. Garth is also a big Billy Joel fan, so that was just an added bonus,” Green said.
Since accepting his position, Green has experienced success alongside Brooks.
“Garth is brilliant, and you can always see the wheels spinning. Once I started working at the studio, that was about the time Garth’s third album had come out, and he was getting huge,” he said. “And I was working here, in the middle of it all, and I thought, ‘I’d better stick around,’ and I am glad I did.”
Day to day
On a recording day, Green arrives early in the morning to prep the studio with all the amenities needed including snacks, meals and more. Artists will often have recording sessions all across town, so he coordinates the transportation of instruments and equipment from studio to studio.
“The cartage company will arrive and deliver the instruments and set them up for the session, and usually our recording sessions are done in blocks of three hours,” Green explained. “We’ll usually start at 10 or 11.”
Green also oversees normal office duties like answering phone calls and helping those who enter the studio.
“People know where we are,” he said. “We’re on all the guided tours, and we’re a stop on the guided bus tours in Nashville, so we’ll get fans that stop by and people dropping off songs.”
Recording sessions often continue into nighttime, but Green enjoys the variety his job provides.
“Even though I have an office and a desk, I am up and moving all the time,” he explained. “There’s always something different, and we’re also sort of a home base for Garth and Trisha because we do record other people, but mainly them.”
The couple uses the Allentown Studios for meetings and preparation space for public appearances such as award shows, photo shoots and more.
“This is a home base for them,” Green said. “They’ll do hair, makeup, wardrobe styling, and they’ll do interviews here. So you never know what each day is going to bring.”
Brooks records the hosting dialog for his Sirius XM music channel programming at Allentown. Throughout the past few years, Yearwood has gained notoriety as a cook on her Food Network series Trisha’s Southern Kitchen. It also offers space for her to record voiceovers.
Although Green is not actively pursuing a personal career in the industry, he has had opportunities to record commercials, demos and background vocals for several of Brooks’ songs.
“That’s been kind of fun, not like I was really a featured vocalists or anything like that, but that’s always neat to be able to do things like that,” he said.
“I had so much fun doing all my music, and I am proud of it, but it’s hard,” Green added. “The older I’ve gotten, the less energy I have to pursue that and work full-time. Now I just live vicariously through Garth and Trisha.”
Green stays connected to his Potawatomi heritage by reading the Hownikan, regularly reading content on the CPN website and attending regional meetings. He is proud of his work at Allentown Studios and his Potawatomi roots. He hopes to attend events like Family Reunion Festival and the Potawatomi Gathering in the future.