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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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800763 37b19443cd6240f0b4bd4c858bbcb22a.jpg srb p 315 173 75 22 0.50 1.20 0THIS WEEK ON TOUR...

Phil Vassar and the band are out West this week for a trio of shows at Toby Keith's I Love This Bar, starting in Denver, then Phoenix, and closing in Rancho Cucamonga.

Wednesday, August 5: Toby Keith's I Love This Bar - Denver, CO

Denver, heading your way for a mid-week show!

Friday, August 7: Toby Keith's I Love This Bar - Phoenix, AZ

Heading back to Arizona for a Friday night in Phoenix

Saturday, August 8:  - Rancho Cucamonga, CA

Rancho, had so much fun this spring, had to come back again!

August 12: Volunteer Jam - Nashville, TN
Joining Charlie Daniels and his friends for Volunteer Jam '15 to benefit the Journey Home Project.

August 14-15: Nevada Tour

Nevada, heading your way the middle of the month. August 14 at Peppermill Concert Hall in West Wendover and then August 15 at The Railhead at Boulder Station Hotel in Las Vegas.

August 21-22: Illinois Trip

The band will be taking a quick trip through Illinois later this month with stops at the Bloomington Beer Fest (August 21) and the Backwoods Boat Festival (August 22).

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Courtesy - NashvilleGab

He may as well be, after spending time with these two celebrated comedians!

Phil Vassar actually performed at the Marine Corps Air Station in North Carolina over the weekend, sharing the stage with award-winning comedian Tom Green and Comedy Central stand-up comedian Mark Viera. The event, which was only open to active military duty, gave the guys unfettered discretion to perform as they see fit — which meant Phil covered every inch of the stage, worked up a crazy sweat, and ended up on top of his piano at some point. It also likely meant that Tom Green discussed his “manhood” and Mark Viera dropped an “f-bomb” or forty.

800763 8036b8834dce498ca87f26e4c3f008a4.jpg srb p 252 344 75 22 0.50 1.20 0THIS WEEK ON TOUR...

Phil Vassar and the band open the week with a private show in Wisconsin on Tuesday and then return home to prepare for a 10 day tour through seven cities in six different states, starting Thursday night outside of Knoxville, Tennessee and rolling through Mississippi, Texas, Colorado, Arizona, and California. 

Thursday, July 30: Clayton Center - Maryville, TN

Big Orange Country, heading your way on Thursday night!

Friday, July 31: Neshoba County Fair - Philadelphia, MS

What a way to start the weekend.. Friday night outside under the stars.

Saturday, August 1: Banita Creek Hall - Nacogdoches, TX

Texas, heading your way this weekend!

Sunday, August 2: Dosey Doe Big Barn - The Woodlands, TX

So much fun when we play Dosey Doe.. had to make a return this summer!

August 5-8: Western USA Toby Keith's I Love This Bar Week

Three stops through the Toby Keith's I Love This Bar, starting the 5th in Denver, the 7th in Phoenix, and finishing the 8th in Rancho Cucamonga.

August 14-15: Nevada Weekend

Shows in Wendover at Peppermill Concert Hall and Las Vegas at The Railhead at Boulder Station Hotel.

800763 56e9cafa51c64533a32009a6c42f4951.jpeg srb p 221 148 75 22 0.50 1.20 0THIS WEEK ON TOUR...

Another exciting 3 show week on the schedule for The Phil Vassar #noPHILter 2015 Tour, starting Tuesday night at the Grand Ole Opry, before heading to North Carolina for a private show on Friday and then up to Wisconsin for Country Thunder USA on Saturday. 

Tuesday, July 21: Grand Ole Opry - Nashville, TN

Always a special night at The Opry House!

Saturday, July 25: Country Thunder USA - Twin Lakes, WI

Wisconsin, let's party this weekend.. again! 

July 30: Clayton Center - Maryville, TN

Staying in-state for a trip to eastern Tennessee at the end of the month.

August 1-2: Texas Swing

Texas, we're heading your way at the start of August; the 1st at Banita Creek Hall in Nacogdoches and the 2nd at Dosey Doe in The Woodlands.

August 5-8: Western USA Toby Keith's I Love This Bar Week

Three stops through the Toby Keith's I Love This Bar, starting the 5th in Denver, the 7th in Phoenix, and finishing the 8th in Rancho Cucamonga.

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