Phil Vassar – “Everywhere I Go”
So Phil Vassar’s whole cross-dressing country song didn’t exactly set the charts ablaze or boost his career into the A-list level of country singers…go figure. With this new single, “Everywhere I Go,” the Vassar team has decided to go the opposite route by releasing a song so familiar that you’ve already heard something just like it a few times if you’ve listened to even a little bit of country music in your life.
Thematically, we’re not breaking any new ground with this song. Country singers have been hung up on memories of past relationships for decades. This song does put a spin on the story by leaving the exact end of the relationship open to debate. Take these lyrics, for example:
Just like you said you’d be
Anytime I needed you here to comfort me
Though it’s only a memory
I swear you’re here, right there, everywhere I go.
Nowhere in the song does it specifically mention that the woman walked away, so it’s entirely possible the songwriter(s) ratcheted up the pathos by killing her off, with the singer being comforted by memories of her instead of being tormented by them. There’s something to be said for ambiguity, and it’s refreshing to not have some ham-fisted lyrics walking you through the entire plotline of the song. Whatever the woman’s ultimate fate, Vassar sells the song with every bit of emotion he can muster. While he gets a little shouty in the chorus, his voice has the right amount of grit and weariness needed to pull off the performance.
Unfortunately for Vassar, the song ultimately falls flat in its arrangement, which takes everything interesting about the song and drowns it in the standard-issue pop-country sad-song arrangement. Everything about it, from the dramatic violin intro to the ending guitar solo from the guy who probably moonlights in an ’80s hair metal tribute band, sounds so familiar and commonplace that it’s pretty much impossible to stand out in a crowded radio playlist. A good song will grab you by the shirt and make you listen to it. This one starts playing, and your brain automatically registers it as a Rascal Flatts album cut and shuts down for the next three and a half minutes. Logically, I can understand why you’d ape a band like Rascal Flatts, but I can’t help but wonder what the song would have sounded like if the emphasis had been on Vassar’s vocals and his piano playing.
I wouldn’t mind if this song becomes a hit, though. If it does, that makes it more likely that Vassar would record an unplugged version of the song for iTunes or some radio station. That version of the song, and not this one, is the one you’d want to get.
- Leeann Ward: Thanks, NM. I like a good pop hook, to be honest. So, maybe I need to try it again.
- Barry Mazor: OK, Jim Z. That changes everything. I surrender.
- Jim Z: to call the Dirty River Boys an "Austin area band" is still incorrect. They are based in El Paso.
- nm: Leeann, you and I often have similar tastes in more-traditional country. And, to my ears, Sam Hunt's voice and lyrics …
- Barry Mazor: Matter of fact, as always--I did. The notes say the album was recorded & mixed by and at "The …
- Roger: Looking forward to picking up the Jamey Johnson Christmas EP - love all of those songs and can't wait for …
- Jim Z: that record was recorded in El Paso. (you could look it up) and other than appearing in Austin once in …
- Leeann Ward: Yes, I can always use more dobro in my life! Thanks for the Phil Leadbetter tip! I haven't been able to …
- Barry Mazor: OK, Jim. The record's more or less out of Austin. But I'm sure they're also good in El Paso...
- Jim Z: Dirty River Boys are from El Paso, Texas.