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with Phil Vassar, country music singer-songwriter

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Indy: You recently released your first "Best Of" collection, Greatest Hits Volume 1. It includes your own hit singles, plus your versions of several songs that became hits for other artists, including "For a Little While" and "My Next Thirty Years," which were done by Tim McGraw. Why did you go that route on the CD?

Vassar: It was time to tidy up my career and say, "Look, here are my songs as a writer and my songs as an artist, where I've been and where I'm going," and kind of rock it into the next record. I think it's a really cool deal.

Indy: You are the rare country music artist that plays piano instead of guitar. What were labels generally saying to you?

Vassar: "You're a piano player. That's not going to work. You need to wear a hat and play guitar." I'm like, "Well, everybody does that." So, anyway, what are you going to do with them?

Indy: You really didn't feature piano in your sound until your third CD, Shaken not Stirred. Why did it surface more prominently on that album?

Vassar: It's almost like I've been apologetic for being a piano player for the past 10 years, you know? I don't know why. I listen back to my other records and I felt like the piano had been more of [just another] instrument instead of "the" instrument. As you look to distinguish yourself from other artists in what you do, and from what they do, I went, "Well, duh, you're a piano player. Nobody else is." Why not let everybody know that?

Alan Sculley

At Denver's Grizzly Rose on Dec. 8, and the Air Force Academy on Dec. 9.

  • with Phil Vassar, country music singer-songwriter

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