From Tim McGraw to Alan Jackson to Jo Dee Messina to his own career, Phil Vassar has left a positive influence on country music.
In the late ‘90s, Phil Vassar began getting his songs noticed by other artists. The artists began recording Vassar’s songs and including them on albums. Eventually the songs began being released as singles and eventually a Vassar’s songs became huge hits for country’s biggest artists.
A few you may recognize include:
My Next Thirty Years – Tim McGraw
Little Red Rodeo – Collin Raye
Bye Bye – Jo Dee Messina
I’m Alright – Jo Dee Messina
For A Little While – Tim McGraw
Right On The Money – Alan Jackson
Postmarked Birmingham – Blackhawk
These songs were huge hits on the country charts beginning in the mid ‘90s and early ‘00s. Then Phil Vassar received a solo recording deal and he decided to keep his songs to record on his own – nobody blamed him, but a few of Nashville’s finest were a little ad of course.
Phil Vassar – Songwriter
In the ‘90s, Phil’s songs began gaining the attention of major country music artists. Phil had been performing in his own restaurant for a few years. He brought a unique sound to country with his piano playing.
Phil Vassar is like the Elton John of country music in a way. The piano, the passionate performance and the expert songwriter are all part of the Phil Vassar experience. The unique sound of Vassar’s songs gave him respect among his peers. The quality and melody of the tunes endeared him with millions of country music fans across the world.
As other artists began releasing Vassar-penned tunes as singles in the late ‘90s, Vassar seemed to have at least one song in the top five on the country charts every week for about five years. Two of Vassar’s tunes can be credited with re-launching Jo Dee Messina’s career. After her first single became a huge hit, Messina struggled with an overzealous tour and a few minor hits from her first album. For her second album she broke through in an even bigger way as I’m Alright and Bye Bye tore up the charts. Messina made the songs what they were, but Vassar gave them life as writer.
Eventually the writing success lead to a recording deal for Vassar…
Phil Vassar – Performer
In 2000, Phil released his self-titled debut album. The first song Carlene became a top five smash that year. At the time, there was a pop feeling in country music. Fans were willing to accept an artist that didn’t have a cowboy hat, Wranglers, and a button up shirt.
Vassar had the jeans, but his hat was without a hat and he always wore a t-shirt. His voice had a country feel to it, but his rocking piano brought a welcomed sound to country radio.
On the tail-end of 2000, Phil’s song Just Another Day In Paradise was racing up the charts. The song eventually became entangled with Tim McGraw’s hit My Next Thirty Years in a fight for the number one song. It was a bittersweet moment for Phil. He was the writer on both songs yet he was on the singer on one. Both songs eventually went to number one in different weeks.
Phil Vassar eventually took to recording his own hits and the other artists would have to seek out great songs from others.
It’s been over ten years now since Phil Vassar first released his first single. It’s been nearly twenty years since he had his first songs recorded by country top artists. Throughout that time Vassar has left a huge mark on the face of country music. His songs, his style, and his attitude have had nothing but a positive impact on country. Artists have had huge smash hits with his songs. Vassar himself has had huge hits. And most importantly, fans have had the pleasure of listening to Phil Vassar’s songs for nearly twenty years.
With life changing songs already to his credit, it’ll be great to see what impact Phil Vassar will leave on country music in the next twenty years.
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