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Courtesy NewCountry1079.com

Scott Stevens interviews Phil regarding his upcoming performance at the Harvester Festival on September 5th in Rocky Mount, VA. The show begins at 8 pm and few tickets remain -  click here to purchase tickets.

Click here for the entire interview. 

Mary K. Bruzek

Courtesy - Country Music Matters
 

There was no shortage of fans welcoming Phil Vassar back to Southern California. The show stopping artist returned for a second visit to Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill in Rancho Cucamonga just four months after his sold out show in April. One can always expect the unexpected from Phil.

Once again the sold out crowd enjoyed a show of anything goes. Starting out with the cranked up, “Baby Rocks,” and continuing with some of his biggest hits, “In A Real Love,” “Carlene,” “Take That As A Yes (Hot Tub Song),” “Little Red Rodeo,” and one of my favorites, “Amazing Grace,” Phil still showed no signs of slowing down. He encouraged the crowd to send in requests via Tweets and came up with “Jingle Bells,” “Bobbi With An I,” and “Bye Bye” which was in relation to a gal celebrating her divorce. He also added “Workin For A Livin,” by Huey Lewis and the News and the classic from Grease, “Summer Nights.” The night was rounded out by his cover of the Billy Joel classic, “Piano Man.”

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Phil Vassar is one of the hardest working artist’s out there today. Between his hectic touring schedule and spending time with his family he still finds time to help out when others call asking him to perform for a charity events such as the upcoming Charlie Daniels “40th Anniversary Volunteer Jam,” benefiting the “Journey Home Project,” to be held Wednesday August 12th at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. Phil is also very generous with his time for the media and we had the chance to visit with him before his show. He and his entire crew are fun, gracious, interesting and great to work with. Click here to take a look as Phil talks about touring, music, his career and more.

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Phil Vassar and the band are in Nevada this weekend for a pair of shows, Friday night in Wendover and Saturday night in Las Vegas.

Wednesday, August 12: Volunteer Jam '15 - Nashville, TN

Can't wait to share the stage with Charlie Daniels and friends at Volunteer Jam Wednesday night.

Friday, August 14: Peppermill Concert Hall - Wendover, NV

Nevada, opening the weekend at the Peppermill Concert Hall.

Saturday, August 15: The Railhead at Boulder Station Hotel & Casino - Las Vegas, NV

Vegas see you Saturday night!

LOOKING AHEAD:
August 21-22: Illinois Trip
The band will be taking a quick trip through Illinois at the end of August with stops at the Bloomington Beer Fest (August 21) and the Backwoods Boat Festival (August 22).

September 5-6: Return to Virginia 

Always fun to head back home to Virginia, Saturday in Rocky Mount and Sunday in Virginia Beach.

October 2-3: Florida Weekend 

Florida heading your way the first weekend of October with shows in Fort Myers (The Ranch) and Port St. Joe (Scallop & Music Festival).

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Courtesy - CBS Local

Although it was only April when Phil Vassar last played Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill, Southern California was anxious to welcome country’s own piano man back to Rancho Cucamonga Saturday night (April 8th). And since he doesn’t determine his setlist before the show, it was far from a repeat of performancefrom four months previous.

Phil encourages his audience to tweet him their requests during the show using the hashtag #noPHILter, and if you happened to search #noPHILter during the show, it was neat to see Phil acknowledge the requests and work them into his set; for example, he wished a fan named Jacie a “Happy Divorce!” before he played the songwriters’ version of Jo Dee Messina’s “Bye Bye.” One would think it would be a bit nerve-wracking not to have a setlist determined ahead of time, but Phil remains undaunted, saying, “It’s easy!”

Phil often plays his versions of songs that have been recorded (and made hits) by other artists, and tonight was no exception, featuring Tim McGraw’s “My Next Thirty Years,” Collin Raye’s “Little Red Rodeo,” and Jo Dee’s “other” Phil Vassar hit, “I’m Alright.” He played a verse of “Jingle Bells” before going into “Joe and Rosalita” (a request for Sara), explaining, “I just wanted to see how drunk you are!” Other surprise album cuts included “Amazing Grace” and “Baby Rocks,” and fun covers like “Summer Nights” (from “Grease”) and Huey Lewis & the News’ “Workin’ for a Livin’.”
 

And of course, he played signature songs like “Just An other Day in Paradise” (a request for Maggie), “In a Real Love,” and the poignant “Last Day of My Life,” as well as the humorous “Bobbi With an ‘I'” and the playful “I’ll Take That As a Yes!” And when he wasn’t playing the piano, he could be found standing, sitting, and lounging on it, creating subtle changes in the visual levels of the performance, all while keeping the energy at a maximum.

I suspect that if he returns in another four months, his fans won’t complain one bit!

Setlist:

1. Baby Rocks

2. In a Real Love

3. Six Pack Summer

4. Love Is a Beautiful Thing

5. Jingle Bells / Joe and Rosalita

6. My Next Thirty Years

7. Carlene

8. 500 Miles (Proclaimers cover)

9. Just Another Day In Paradise

10. Bye, Bye

11. I’ll Take That As a Yes! (The Hot Tub Song)

12. Last Day of My Life

13. Amazing Grace

13. That’s When I Love You

14. Bobbi With an “I”

15. Summer Nights (from “Grease”)

16. I’m Alright

17.  Little Red Rodeo

18. Workin’ for a Livin’ (Huey Lewis and the News cover)

19. Piano Man (Billy Joel cover)

→ Pepper is the evening host on KFRG 95.1 FM Riverside & KXFG 92.9 FM Temecula. Follow Pepper on Twitter: @KFROGPepper and on Facebook.

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Phil Vassar, known for his high octane country performances, will perform in Rancho Cucamonga

The combination of a piano stored in the basement at his home in Virginia and soul and funk group The Commodores inspired country artist Phil Vassar to begin tickling the ivories when he was in high school.
 

And as Vassar put it, it wasn’t a gentle ribbing of the keys, “I started ripping into the piano and fell in love with playing,” the singer/songwriter said in a recent phone interview before a concert in Milwaukee.
 

“I still remember hearing the song ‘Easy’ and being captivated,” Vassar said.

Vassar, along with a piano, will perform at Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill in Rancho Cucamonga on Saturday, Aug. 8.
 

The basement piano jam sessions were squeezed in between a busy high school schedule that included playing football and a spot on the track team. The energy Vassar needed to compete in two sports in high school hasn’t waned.  Vassar said his shows run 90 minutes to two hours and carry a party-like atmosphere. It’s not unusual to see him sliding across the piano and putting on an energetic show. Aside from performing, Vassar said he doesn’t party much and does what he can to take care of himself and his voice throughout the brutal touring schedules.

“The shows are very physical and can be a pretty exhausting workout,” Vassar said. “I know it sounds boring and unrockstar-like to take it easy.”  Vassar said he recently saw the Rolling Stones and was blown away by Mick Jagger’s intense stage antics.  “He is my hero,” Vassar said with a laugh.
 

Vassar said he grew up poor and had dreams of becoming a medical doctor but the siren call of music and his love of the piano proved too strong. He moved to Nashville in 1988 to begin his career in music.  He fondly remembers the first song he penned that was recorded by someone famous, Engelbert Humperdinck. The song was “Once in Awhile.”  “My Grandma thought it was the coolest thing ever,” Vassar said.
 

Since then, Vassar has gone onto write numerous hit songs not only for himself but for fellow artists including Jo Dee Messina, Tim McGraw and Alan Jackson.

All the while still playing the piano, even though he has never had a lesson.

“I was supposed to take lessons years ago and a week prior, the teacher called to tell me he had a scheduling conflict and said ‘I can’t teach you,’” Vassar said. “I was destined to not take lessons.”


Vassar continues to write songs and for the last five years has been working on a yet-to-be titled album, which will be released “when it’s ready,” he said.

“We have mastered 17 songs and will break it down to the best 11,” Vassar said. “Between life, love, kids and friends, there is always something to write about.”

Courtesy - Northeast Phoenix Republic

Join Phil Vassar at Toby Keith's I Love this Bar & Grill (8/7).  In addition to penning hits for Tim McGraw and Jo Dee Messina, Phil has made his own mark on the singles charts with such records as "Just Another Day In Paradise" and the rollicking '"Carlene."   A high energy performer, Vassar usually features some wild piano work in the Jerry Lee Lewis tradition in his concerts. 

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