Phil Vassar's latest releases, December's American Soul and May's American Soul Summer, are the singer's first new studio projects since Traveling Circus was released in 2009. The new sets of tunes reminded Vassar why he loves the craft of songwriting as much as he loves performing.

"Coming through the songwriter world like I did, that’s one thing I’ve always loved," Vassar explained to The Boot and other reporters at a recent media event. "My first concert was Merle Haggard. So it set the tone for real singer-songwriters … I’ve just always loved them. Even Kenny [Chesney] and Garth [Brooks] -- all of these guys, Alan [Jackson], we all came to town at the same time. So everybody sort of hit."

Vassar has also penned songs for other artists, including Jo Dee Messina's "Bye, Bye" and "I'm Alright," Tim McGraw's "For a Little While" and "My Next Thirty Years" and Collin Raye's "Little Red Rodeo," among others. But much has changed in the 20 years since Vassar first started having hits -- and not necessarily for the better.

"Being a singer-songwriter, I haven’t had one out in a long time," concedes Vassar. "And the last album that came out, the label closed the day it came out, so that’s always good luck [laughs]. But it is what it is. The business has changed so much, with the onslaught of social media age. All you’ve got to do is go out there and moon everybody on your Twitter page and get likes and looks."

Still, Vassar is proud of his new music and the work he's done. He has no plans to change careers anytime soon, even if the music industry is evolving.

"It’s a different time, and it’s fun to have new music -- to tour the world, and travel around, seeing our genre just blow up -- wherever we go, seeing the crowds, [and] they're huge," Vassar concedes. "I think I’m have more fun doing it than ever, making the music I want to make -- nobody tells me what to cut and when I can cut and not to cut. It’s a really neat thing for a singer-songwriter. I’m having a good time. I really am."

Vassar's American Soul Summer -- a deluxe, expanded version of American Soul -- is available for purchase on Amazon and iTunes.

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