Indiana, PA - Indiana County

Vassar finds inspiration everywhere

by RACHEL JONES news@indianagazette.net on July 16, 2014 11:00 AM

Phil Vassar, a celebrated country singer and songwriter, will be headlining the Fraternal Order of Police’s 40th annual country music concert Sunday at the J.S. Mack Community Center grandstands in White Township. The separate shows will begin at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Vassar’s humble heart far outweighs his song collection. He doesn’t solely focus on the awards and honors that have been presented to him over the years. Vassar said enjoys doing what he loves: making music.

“I’ve always loved making music,” he said. “I don’t know if I’m cursed or lucky, but I’ve always known what I wanted to be my whole life.”

And where does he find the inspiration for his songs?

“Everywhere,” he said. “My kids, life, love, lost love and emotions all influence my songs. You can’t run out of things to write about because there are new things every day.”

Vassar has released eight albums and has hit the Top 5 of the country charts seven times with songs such as “Carlene,” “Last Day of My Life” and “American Child,” and he has had No. 1 hits with “In A Real Love” and “Just Another Day in Paradise.” He has earned two ASCAP Songwriter of the Year trophies, was named Billboard Country Songwriter of the Year, and has written songs that have become hits for many other performers.

Other artists have made it to the top of charts with his songs, including “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 Vassar’s “The Sound of a Million Dreams,” which Billboard named the No. 1 song in their Top 10 Country Songs of 2012.

His motivation for everything in between lovingly goes to his mother.

“She always believed in my talent,” he said,” She was always there for me, even when I decided to go to Nashville to follow my dreams. I love that woman.”

His job keeps him “zooming” from one place to the next. Whether he’s touring the West Coast or Europe, he loves what he does.

“I really love the whole thing,” he said. “It can be hard sometimes, but I have a good time.”

He enjoys touring, and especially enjoyed going to Europe and New Zealand.

“It’s awesome to see thousands of people sing your songs back to you,” he said.

When he’s on stage performing, he likes to play a little of everything and always keep things different.

“I try not to go up there with a set list,” he said. “It makes it a more fun experience.”

The number of times he performs a month vary depending on his schedule.

“Sometimes I can have 10-20 shows a month,” he said. “Right now, it’s about 16-18 shows a month which is four, five shows a week.”

When he isn’t touring, Vassar said he enjoys exercising, writing songs and recording. His favorite job is being a dad to his two daughters.

“I love hanging out with my kids,” he said. “It’s really important that we make time for each other.”

In addition to Vassar’s performance, fans will also get a chance to experience the sound of young country singer and songwriter Larry Frick.

He last performed in Indiana on July 2012 for the FOP’s show featuring Tracy Lawrence. Over the past few years, he’s had the honor of opening for Trace Adkins, John Michael Montgomery and Neal McCoy.

Through the years, the FOP show has featured a variety of opening acts, many who have gone on the become headliners themselves. Among those are Dierks Bentley, Chely Wright, Little Texas, Restless Heart, Suzy Boggus and Julie Robert.

Tickets are $22.50 in advance and $25 at the door. Anyone interested in purchasing a ticket should call (724) 349-9114.

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