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Country Star Phil Vassar discusses his plans for 2015 (Includes interview)

Although this active 50 year old hasn’t released any new albums in a while (his most recent offering was the Christmas record, Noel, in 2011), that’s not to say he hasn’t been keeping busy. Touring and looking after his two daughters is a full-time job and when Mr. Vassar spoke to me on the 12th March 2015, he had only recently returned from Costa Rica.

“I loved it – I had so much fun,” he says of the trip, which included a gig at a private party. “It was a private event, but it was really a lot of fun. We do several corporate events a year. We have one next week in Nashville, actually… I did one in Switzerland last year, I did one in Cabo (San Lucas)… It’s kinda fun because you get to go to these different places where you wouldn’t necessarily get to go otherwise.”

As an admirer of Phil’s work, I was curious to learn more about the progress of his seventh studio album, that I’d heard about prior to the interview, and was met with a positive response: “It’s going really good; that’s what we’re doing right now, actually… I’m sitting here in the studio just working on mixes.

“It’s a process and it’s the first real studio album I’ve done in a long time. We’ve done a live record, we did a Christmas record, but this is the first album full of new material that we’ve done in four or five years, so it’s good to be doing that again.”

“Artistically, you’re always trying to evolve a little bit,” muses the successful songwriter, who has also penned monster hits for the likes of Tim McGraw, Alan Jackson and Jo Dee Messina and Collin Raye, commenting on the as-yet-untitled album from a musical perspective.

“I don’t understand why everybody tries to put the same song out. I’ve always liked it when people kinda change it up… I think sonically it’ll sound a little different – I’ve got a different guy mixing this record… Generally, I record all my records in my studio at home, so I’ve been going out to some different studios and recording a little bit and bringing stuff back home to finish.

“I went to the studio where Ronnie Milsap cut all his records, on that same piano, so I thought that was kind of fun to do – I’d never done that before.”

“We cut over 30 brand new songs,” continues the major player on the Nashville scene, known for popular tunes like “Six Pack Summer,” “Just Another Day in Paradise” and “Love Is a Beautiful Thing.” “It’s been a real process to get 30 songs recorded and overdubbed and mixed and still do a tour and still try to chase my daughters around! It’s crazy…”

Three singles, so far without a home, have been released by Phil – a skilled piano player – in the last few years, “Let’s Get Together” (2011), “Don’t Miss Your Life” (2012) and “Love Is Alive” (2013), and I asked him whether any of these are to be included on the new album.

“Well I do know ‘Love Is Alive’ will be on the record… ‘Don’t Miss Your Life,’ I’m not sure if that’ll be on there or not. It may be. ‘Let’s Get Together’ I don’t know either… We have so many new things, but I do know ‘Love Is Alive’ for sure will be on this record.”

The affable star does not yet have a release date for the new batch of songs, but hopes to have it out by the end of the year. As it’s country music and the year is 2015, will he be embracing modern themes, i.e. trucks, dirt roads, tailgates, etc.?

“I hope not,” he replies. “I think everybody’s just done that to death. Trucks and tailgates and drinking beer – it’s like every song has that in it. I’ve gotta try to let that sort of flush itself out a little bit and maybe write about something a bit different.”

“It (bro-country) works, apparently, because everybody’s kinda doing it, on a dirt road or whatever, but there’s a lot of great songwriters in Nashville. I just think it’s like anything; it’s cyclical and it’ll change.”

Aside from finishing – and hopefully releasing – his new album, 2015 will see Phil out on the road doing his thing all over the country. One of the events he is scheduled to appear at is the Charlie Daniels 40th Anniversary Volunteer Jam at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on August 12th.

Phil Vassar

Phil Vassar
Nicole Zeller

“Yeah, it’s gonna be great,” he enthuses, referring specifically to the above-mentioned concert. “I’ve worked with Charlie a lot. He’s a great, great man and as amazingly talented as he is, he’s an even better human being, and I don’t know how many people you can say that about. So I’m excited about that, but we’re off… I’m playing Chicago and Green Bay and Eau Claire, Wisconsin – all that next week – and Nashville.

“We’re doing a bunch of shows and then we head back out to the West Coast next month. We’re just kind of in a little lull where we’re working on the record, but looks like we’re getting ready to get busy again.”

Which of the new songs are being played on stage at the present time?

“We’ve been doing ‘American Soul,’ which is off the new album. We’ve been doing ‘Party People‘ – just different ones. We’ve been trying them out here and there to see what reaction we get. I think everybody’s kind of excited about us doing some new music. We’ve been lucky and had a lot of hits, but it’s time to do something different.”

For more information on Phil Vassar, and to check on tour dates, visit his official website.

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