Merchandise’s David Vassalotti Shares His Favorite Guitar Songs

Get to know the Philly-based singer-songwriter’s influences.

The Philly-based singer-songwriter David Vassalotti’s most recent album is aptly titled Guitar Dream. Produced by Vassalotti’s friend and fellow Merchandise member Carson Cox, the album consists of 10 melancholic post-punk tracks that seamlessly combine classic rock, new wave, jazz, and folk influences. It’s a pensive collection of understated epics, foregrounding Vassalotti’s guitar chops (including some killer solos) and breathy, soulful vocals.

Ahead of his show at Alphaville on March 22, we asked Vassalotti to share some of his influences with us. Check out his playlist and comments below.

Make sure to catch David Vassolatti at Alphaville on March 22, supporting Bambara with Horoscope and Flasyd. Guitar Dream is out now on Wharf Cat Records.

Neil Young – “Unknown Legend”

David Vassalotti: As both a songwriter and guitar player, I cherish Neil’s output above pretty much all others. Can’t be fucked with.

Nina Simone – “Don’t You Pay Them No Mind”

I don’t get goosebumps often, but Nina’s voice on this track shakes me every time.

Stratos Dionisiou – “O Paliatzis”

I recorded a cover of this song during the “Guitar Dream” sessions, sung in Greek and with the bouzouki lines transliterated to guitar, but it didn’t make the final cut 🙁

Nada – “Ma Che Freddo Fa”

Another doomed cover I recorded during this time. Viva l’Italia.

David Ruffin – “Pieces of a Man”

A soulful banger from one of the finest voices of the 20th century. This record’s always close to my turntable.

Jimmy Ruffin – “Gonna Give Her All The Love I’ve Got”

I can’t mention David [Ruffin] without giving some love to his brother Jimmy.

Felt – “Crystal Ball”

My biggest guitar influence. I could’ve picked any number of Felt tracks for this but “Crystal Ball” stays stuck in my head the most as of late.

Fairport Convention – “Tale In Hard Time”

Richard Thompson is my favorite guitar player, and this track flexes some of his early magic. I’m also a sucker for some tasteful harpsichord.

Crime & the City Solution – “Fray So Low”

I spaced out to the Shine LP a lot during this time.

The Lounge Lizards – “No Pain For Cakes”

Carson and I listened to a tape of this album looping every morning while setting up the recording gear. Hopefully some undertones crept in.

Townes Van Zandt – “No Place to Fall”

America’s greatest songwriter.

Tammy Wynette – “Satin Sheets”

I adore country crooners and melodramatic ballads. Tammy made a masterpiece of this standard.

New Order – “Regret”

New Order were deceptively genius at crafting loner pop anthems. This is a later one, but one of their best—good enough to end up on Baywatch. Cue Youtube!