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Phil Vassar, country music’s renaissance man, plays The Palace Theatre |

Phil Vassar, country music’s renaissance man, plays The Palace Theatre

Kellie B. Gormly
| Wednesday, January 16, 2019 12:00 a.m

“Just Another Day in Paradise”

Phil Vassar is known for many things: singing, songwriting and playing the piano. Now the wine aficionado — who owns Red River Beverage — has added television host to his resume.

Vassar – who is performing on Jan. 24 at The Palace Theatre in Greensburg – stars in the new PBS series called “Songs from the Cellar,” filmed — appropriately enough— in the cellar of his century-old Nashville estate.

He completed the project of converting the storm cellar into a nice, finished space in 2015. Vassar stores wine in there, plays the piano, relaxes and hosts family and friends. He and some musician friends spent time in the cellar and thought they could play music there.

“I just started hanging out down there,” he says. “It’s just got this really cool vibe to it, with chairs, a fireplace, candles, parties and get-togethers.”

In the show – which will be debuting throughout the country in the next few months – Vassar will host fellow entertainers and other notables in his cellar, where they will drink cocktails, talk about the beverages and about their lives and careers and perform some music. “I like wine. I like socializing with my friends. I like good conversation. I like music,” Vassar says. He is known for hit songs including “When I Love You,” “Last Day of My Life,” “Six-Pack Summer” and “I’ll Take That as a Yes (The Hot Tub Song).”

“It was just a natural progression,” Vassar says about starting the show.

Among the Guests on “Songs from the Cellar:” Tommy Shaw of the band Styx, Steve Cropper, John Rich, Brenda Lee and Charles Esten.

“It isn’t just about the wine; it’s more about the music and the conversation,” Vassar says.

While filming this show, Vassar keeps an active touring schedule and has a big fan base in Western Pennsylvania, where he has performed numerous times over the years. For many years of touring, Vassar called the Pepsi-Cola Roadhouse in Burgettstown, Washington County, his home in the region. The venue has hosted fewer concerts in the recent past. Now, Vassar is playing in Greensburg’s Palace Theatre – which, like the Roadhouse, gives the performers and audience a cozy, intimate feeling.

Vassar is now working on composing new music and plans to start recording a new album within another month. Meanwhile, Vassar constantly writes songs.

“If I sat down at the piano, I could come up with about 100 melodies an hour,” Vassar says. “Lyrically, you just have to kind of be in a mood.”

Kellie Gormly is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

Derrek Kupish
Phil Vassar
Categories: Features | Music
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