has been over two years since I wrote my very first country
music review on Phil Vassar’s Greatest Hits. Vassar’s
new album contains tracks that would fit well on another one
of those Greatest Hits albums.
His piano is as remarkable as ever on the new
album, Prayer of a Common Man, which includes ten of
twelve tracks that he wrote or co-wrote. He also co-produced
the album with Mark Wright.
Starting strong with “This Is My Life,”
Vassar’s lyrics are right on target for today’s world; if
you haven’t heard it yet, you’ll find out why in the second
verse. In the enjoyable and vocally strong “Around Here
Somewhere,” a couple who needs to rekindle their love for
each other searches “between the pillows on the couch, under
the bed [and] up on some shelf.” One of my favorites on this
album is “My Chevrolet,” a nostalgic tune with thoughtful,
clever country lyrics and a great, catchy melody.
Vassar’s brilliantly written single, “Love Is
a Beautiful Thing,” was written by two talented songwriters,
Jeffrey Steele and Craig Wiseman. This one is a song for
every member of the wedding party; the grandparents who
walked down the same aisle fifty years ago, the father of
the bride trying to hide the tears in his eyes and even for
the mother who could not be there on this special day.
Continuing to prove that he is aware of his
broad range of listeners, Vassar’s tender “Prayer of a
Common Man” follows his well-known style, aiming to clutch
the hearts of many, letting them know they’re not alone in
hard times. This song is down-to-earth and powerful,
reaching deep down into the souls of people who feel they
have lost it all.
The fiddle, and of course the piano, are both
strong in “I Would,” about a love that ended and cannot be
patched. Vassar’s creative imagination allowed him to write
this one alone.
I’d make you laugh
I’d learn to cry
Learn to dance
Just for one more chance
Something I could do to make it good
Baby I would
“Why Don’t Ya,” which Vassar did not
co-write, strays away from his well-known style, but it fits
him nonetheless. Los Lonely Boys partake in this one as
well; their influence is unmistakable.
“It’s Only Love,” a strong-willed break up
song comes immediately before “Let Me Love You Tonight,”
which is about not wanting to let go quite yet.
Back to the up-tempo songs, “The World Is a
Mess” and “Baby Rocks” bring out the personality we have all
come to expect from Vassar. “The World Is a Mess” picks up
even more at the end, and although the piano is fantastic
throughout “Baby Rocks,” there is a glittery, notable solo
about two and a half minutes into the song that will blow
One of the most tender songs on the album is
the other song that Vassar wrote himself. “Crazy Life”
illustrates that the day to day lives we lead are just as
important as the big picture. Even though the chorus is
strong, my favorite part of the song, lyrically, is near the
“I think about the good and bad
The happiness outweighs the sad
And the balance evens out the highs and lows”
Vassar never fails to impress me with his
recordings or stage shows, partly because he usually ends up
sitting or standing on the piano at one point or another
during concerts. Although he has some big shoes to fill,
Phil Vassar is certainly the country version of “The Piano
Man,” and he’s darn good at it.