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Phil Vassar

Phil Vassar – 2000 (Arista)

Reviewed by George Hauenstein

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CDs by Phil Vassar

The fine line that exists between today's hot new country and pop music gets more blurry every day. Phil Vasser's debut major label effort walks that fine line very well. There's just enough fiddle and steel guitar here to not be a pop album, but not enough to satisfy the diehard country fan.

Though it likely won't appeal to the George Jones-Alan Jackson fans among us, it is a worthy effort. Vasser is a talented songwriter, having penned hits for Jo Dee Messina, Alan Jackson, BlackHawk and Collin Raye. He co-wrote all 11 of the songs here. Most are catchy and clever and have more substance than many of the songs coming from Nashville hitmakers these days. His first single, "Carlene," is a fun, up-tempo song. Other favorites include, "Somewhere In Between, "Just Another Day In Paradise," "Rose Bouquet" and "Drive Away."

The pop-flavored, country arrangements, coupled with Vasser's deep vocals and piano make this an enjoyable CD. Don't expect much twang from Vasser, but in today's market where so many of the male country artists are indistinguishable, Vasser is a triple-threat entertainer: a singer, songwriter and musician whose songs are definitely worth a listen.