Phil Vassar

Shaken Not Stirred – 2004 (Arista)

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

CDs by Phil Vassar

If Phil Vassar is trying to be the next James Bond, he's got a lot to learn (Bond liked his drinks shaken, not stirred) when it comes to raising the level of excitement. Vassar has not changed very much over his three albums. He sings well enough, writes anthemic sounding, sometimes catchy songs, which are clearly aimed at a country pop market.

Vassar doesn't get very country here. The softer songs are more piano driven and have scant little to do with the genre. Neither do the uptempo, bright sounding songs though.

He gets trite on "What Happens in Vegas," with that dumb advertising line of "But what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas." Is the tourism office paying Vassar's bills these days?

"I'll Take That as Yes" finds Vassar getting a bit histrionic vocally and soulful, but the song, one of two not written by Vassar, is lyrically clunky.Vassar is tried and true - if you liked his past material, no reason to change your opinion now. But maybe he should have stirred things up a bit more like that daring risk taker, Bond. James Bond.