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Country music artist Phil Vassar will escape the big stage to give an intimate performance for the first time at the Dusty Armadillo, 3147 S.R. 44 in Rootstown, on April 20.
As a child, Vassar was influenced by the musicians his father listened to, such as Billy Joel, The Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, Elton John and Willie Nelson.
Vassar said it all started when he picked up his first guitar in high school.
"I started out by playing the drums and guitar, but I had always wanted to be a piano player," Vassar said. "I started playing a little in high school just goofing around and I really fell in love with it. It's still hard for me to walk by a piano and not play it."
Vassar left his home in Lynchburg, Va. to pursue his dream of being a musician.
"It was always something I wanted to do," Vassar said. "I left college and moved to Nashville out of school and had a band and started writing songs and playing all the clubs."
Moving to Nashville was a leap of faith that landed Vassar with two ASCAP Songwriter of the Year trophies, Billboard Country Songwriter of the Year, a mantle full of awards and countless hit songs like "Carlene," "Last Day of My Life," "American Child" and "Just Another Day in Paradise."
"The key to making a good song is to write about something real that you know about instead of trying to write something that someone else would write," Vassar said. "You know, if you're going through a heartache, write about it or if you're going to a party, write about it because in that moment of excitement or frustration or whatever it is you're going to write the best you can."
Vassar continues to capture the heart of his audience with his lyrics. His latest single, "Love is Alive" is no exception.
"'Love is Alive' is one of those songs that I loved since I wrote it," Vassar said. "I'm on the road a lot and it's always about coming home. I'm always about seeing my kids. It's so hard to be gone all the time and when and you really care about somebody you just want to be with them more than anything. It's just about that longing to be with someone. I just kept thinking about all the things that love it and love is alive kept coming back to me."
Written with frequent co-writer, the award-winning Tom Douglas known for "The House That Built Me" and "Little Rock," the new release set the mood for Vassar's anticipated new album that will hit stores this summer.
"I haven't even named the album yet," Vassar said. "The hardest thing for me about a record is naming it, but I really love the songs I'm writing right now and I'm really happy with the sound."
Along with his many accomplishments, Vassar also launched his own label, Rodeowave Entertainment.
"I've written a lot of hits and had a lot of success and you kind of get to a point where you don't want to hear somebody telling you what to create, when to create it and when you can put it out," Vassar said. "It's just not cool. I had to stop and say, 'I still want to make my own music, but I don't want to do it under the constraints of a record label.' A lot of artists are doing the same thing. It's a good time to be on your own and to test the waters."
Vassar will perform a rockin', jump around, get crazy kind of show.
"We have a great band," Vassar said. "During the winter, that's when you record and in the spring is when you get to tour again, so we're excited to get out. We have a lot of energy."
Carie Young, marketing coordinator at the Dusty Armadillo, said Vassar will perform a feel good show.
"He is an entertainer, he has great songs and a great personality," Young said. "He wants crowd interaction at his shows, so no show is ever the same. You find yourself singing along the whole concert."
Young expects the show to sell out prior to the date of the show.
"Phil usually plays bigger venues than our club, but he wanted to do a small club tour and we are ecstatic to be one of the clubs he is playing in. It will definitely sell out."
Vassar will take the stage April 20 at the Dusty Armadillo. Tickets are $23. Ages 18 and over are welcome. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the Show starts at 10 p.m.
For tickets or more information, call 330-325-0647 or visit www.dustya.com.