Phil Vassar - American Soul
~ CD Review ~
Jan 27, 2017
From the opening chords of “American Soul” I was riveted. Phil has an epic room-filling style. The title cut explodes with energy and a clever commentary on American culture including the mention of six pack abs, six point bucks, Abraham Lincoln and Robert E. Lee. He has an outstanding deep, masculine voice, and he really puts power behind it. He is a born singer/songwriter and sets the bar very high with production, backup vocals, and instrumentation.
“I’m Not Made that Way” is an emotional declaration of commitment and reassurance, full of energy and passion.
“Been to hell, and gone for broke,
[*Editor’s Note: sung in that deep voiced, sex-ay two-syllabled way: Yay-ah!]
“The Sound of a Million Dreams” is a song to break hearts. Phil reminds me of Laura Nyro in the sense that he has written a large number of hit singles, some of them Number One, for famous singers such as Jo Dee Messina, Tim McGraw and Alan Jackson. Yet, he himself has such presence and musical strength. There’s nothing like a song sung by the person who wrote it. People loved The Fifth Dimension’s covers of Laura Nyro songs, but hardly anyone knew who she was. If you listen to her interpretations of her own songs, she flattens the ones who made them hits. She had ten times their fury, power and raw talent.
“The Sound of a Million Dreams” seems like the story of Nashville or of pop music in general. How many truly talented people have had to wade through the rules of the established system that makes it so hard for the truly exceptional to leapfrog over the mediocre? The undeniably talented David Nail recorded this song, and he has a beautiful country tenor voice, but I think Phil’s baritone leaves David in the dust.
“Seger was singing words I could believe it and Main Street was my street that night
So I labor for hours cause I know the power of a song when a song hits you right
Incidentally, “Main Street” is one of those songs I continue to pull over for. I still get chills hearing that lead guitar.
The duet with Sarah Darling, “Voice in My Head” is lovely as well.
“Your love is stronger than the voice in my head.”
“The Ballad of Pretty Mae” has a driving melody, you can hear Irish influence on this one. A dramatic story song!
This whole album has catchy tunes. Not a single dud. And Phil delivers with power and his signature passionate voice. I would totally bet that seeing him live would be one of the memorable nights of your life. He’s that good. You can reach him at philvassar.com, and check out his great presence on youtube.com as well.
Press photo from philvassar.com
Kimmy Sophia Brown has loved humor and music and freedom for as long as she can remember.She is especially passionate about the environment and caring for animals.
Did you like what you read?If so, leave a Tip, below, and join the ranks of our Renaissance Patrons!
>> Read More about becoming a Renaissance Patron