Thursday Jun 6 4:20 PM
on Chevrolet Riverfront Stage
Phil Vassar is as driven today as he was when he first left his Lynchburg, Virginia home to pursue – and realize – his dream of making his mark in entertainment. A career that has seen the release of eight albums, two ASCAP Songwriter of the Year trophies, Billboard Country Songwriter of the Year, countless hits as a singer and songwriter and a mantle full of awards and the launch of his own Rodeowave Entertainment label continues to expand and evolve.
As a singer/songwriter, Phil has hit the Top 5 seven times with songs like “Carlene,” “Last Day of My Life” and “American Child” and topped the charts with “In A Real Love” and the perennial favorite “Just Another Day in Paradise.” Known as one of Nashville’s top tunesmiths, his songs other artists have taken to #1 include “My Next Thirty Years” by Tim McGraw, “She’s Right On The Money” by Alan Jackson, and Jo Dee Messina’s “Bye, Bye” and “I’m Alright.” New artist David Nail had a hit with Phil’s “The Sound of a Million Dreams,” which Billboard named the #1 song in their Top 10 Country Songs of 2012.
Vassar continues to churn out incisive, soulful lyrics and infectious melodies that capture the heart and soul in the unique and special way that only he can, and his latest single, “Love Is Alive,” is no exception. Written with frequent co-writer, the award-winning Tom Douglas (“The House That Built Me,” “Little Rock,” “I Run To You), the new release is the foundation for a much-anticipated new album that will hit stores on Rodeowave in mid-2013.
For Vassar, his philosophy about songs has never changed during his time spent writing hits for himself and other artists, its important for a song to carry a message and make the listener feel something.
“Songs should evoke something, whether it makes you happy and puts you in a good mood, or makes you cry and feel desperation... you know, whether you’re going through a marriage, or a divorce, or you’re in love or you hate somebody, or whatever it is... songs should evoke something,” says Vassar. “And if it’s just having a drink with your friends in the hot tub, that’s just as good as any song for me! I mean, I’ve had hits with every kind of song – ballads, mid-tempos, up-tempos and silly kinds of songs. You can’t save the whales with every song you write, that’s too heavy for me,” he adds, laughing. “I honestly don’t think I’ve written my best songs yet,” he added.
His critically-acclaimed holiday release Noel included five original and five classic songs and a slight dose of irreverence. Sandwiched between “Away in a Manger” and “I’ll Be Home For Christmas,” “Santa’s Gone Hollywood” is an equal opportunity offender for everything good and pure about jolly ole St. Nick. He supported the album with a Christmas tour, which he plans to make an annual event.
The Virginia native, who received the 2012 VAB Distinguished Virginian Award by the Virginia Association of Broadcasters is definitely no stranger to a good time, and he makes sure with every performance that his fans feel exactly the same way. Years of playing clubs, and even owning his own nightspot at one point, helped Phil cultivate the easygoing, fun-loving manner he displays onstage and the infectious energy that infuses every single show he does.
“I’ve always prided myself on writing a lot of different types of songs, while some people may like to play it safe, I prefer diversity. So it’s about new energy and doing different things, getting away from the old ways and starting fresh, that’s what we’ve been able to do with Rodeowave.”
Excited at the limitless possibilities of the freedom of running his own label, he is also extending the knowledge and experience he has gained over the years to other artists. The full-service record label/promotions/management company not only handles details of his own career but has promoted music by The Lumineers, Neal McCoy, and new artists Miss Willie Brown, High Valley, Old Dominion and Sam Riddle.
The company is also the launch pad for television and film projects. A new movie called Fat Biscuit will begin shooting in the fall of 2013. His love of travel, food and meeting new people heavily influenced a tv project currently in production. No stranger to television, Phil was nominated for an Emmy Award in the "Outstanding Original Song" category for his composition "Live For Today," which performed and produced for a recurring series on NBC's Today Show.
When not on the road performing for adoring fans or at home taking care of the business that surrounds Phil Vassar, he can be found picking up his two daughters from school and spending the afternoon just being “Dad.” His heart for children extends well beyond his immediate family, and 2013 marks the sixth year he has performed a benefit concert for The Miller Home for girls in his hometown. He has been a featured artist on Charlie Daniels’ annual Christmas 4 Kids concert, and he regularly lends his time, talent and name to organizations like St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Monroe Carell, Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, Second Harvest Food Bank and more.
Phil Vassar is an artist who has endured his share of ups and downs in life and the “biz,” and one who is not only riding a diverse wave of success but sharing it with others. “I’m not going out there to try and change the world, but for me, this is my thing, this is my little world that I can control now, and I’m really excited about this journey, getting new music out to the fans and working on other avenues to entertain people. For me that’s what it’s all about.”