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Local country singer celebrates album release, birthday

Elisabeth Slay
Vince Van and the Outlaws performed all original songs at their album release party Saturday.

Local musician Vince Van celebrated his 53rd birthday in style as he and his band, the Outlaws, gave a concert and party for the release of their newest album Saturday, Jan. 11 at the Brickhouse Saloon.

"It was freaking awesome. It was jammed pack," Van said. "It was very humbling and so exciting and just a great night."

According to Van, he invited several people and a majority of them attended his concert and the musicain said even more people showed up from all over the country.

"It was my birthday and it was just an awesome night," Van said. "We sold a lot of merchandise."

Van said his music style is outlaw country and he has always loved music, but he didn't start playing the guitar, writing songs or performing professionally until about three years ago.

"I've been writing songs since I was in the Navy which was 1994...I didn't get to really do anything with my music career at that point," Van said. "I was in the military and after I got out of the military I was raising a family."

The longtime Shawnee resident said he has two grown daughters now, Paige Vanlandingham and Mariah Parker, who both have graduated college and Parker had Van's first grandchild, Gigi.

"One of the songs on the album is about the day my granddaughter was born," Van said. "It's called The Gigi Song. People love The Gigi Song.”

The veteran said both his daughters and his wife LaDonna Vanlandingham, support his music career and have encouraged him to continue to pursue his passion.

"My wife...has inspired me to pick up the guitar and write music and she has been there to almost every single one of my shows and has been supportive and helpful," Van said. "All my family is very supportive and try to come to all of my shows."

The father of two said after he was out of the military he went through some tough times and it was music that made everything better.

"I picked up the guitar and I wrote like I never wrote before and by doing all the things that have happened, music has kind of saved my life and put me back on track," Van said. "It's changed a lot of other people's lives that have found me through my music."

Eventually, Van said, he started writing hundreds of songs and performing some of them for friends and family.

"When I played them to people I found out how much people related to them," Van said. "It just grew from there and everybody has just wanted more and more."

Van said he and the Outlaws joined forces about three years ago and following their album release party, the band will perform in Shawnee, Kansas and Arkansas.

Van said the Outlaws include drummer, David "Thunder Monkey" Hooper, bass guitarist, Eric Blair and guitarist, John Davis.

For the singer-songwriter, he said this album is a collection of his greatest work and he's proud of it and the response it has gotten.

"My favorite song on the CD is 'Wingin It' and I'm getting so much response back for it. It's crazy," Van said. "This is the album. This is the one."

In addition to his band and music career, Van said he has owned Valiant Paintless Dent Repair for 12 years.

As his career continues, the singer-songwriter said he hopes to continue to reach people through his music.

"I hope to hear my songs all over the nation. That's what I want to hear and I don't care if I don't get signed. It's not about that…it's about the music," Van said.

The father of two also said after the success of the concert he has high hopes for the band and he hopes they will be able to tour by the end of if the year.

In addition to his family, Van said he would like to thank friends Victor and Sandi Mccrary who he met through his music and has become close with ever since.

"They've helped me on every single turn when it comes to music," Van said. "We do everything together."

The husband, father and grandfather said he would like to thank Paige, Mariah and LaDonna for all their help with the party and their continued support.

Van would also like to thank Amanda Smith, Angela Baldwin, Macy Snider, and Niki Johns for their help with merchandise, photogaphy and more. The muscian said he would also like to thank Karla Jennings for providing a great venue for his performance and supporting local muscians.