Known for writing his own songs and playing the piano, it’s a bit ironic that the big hit single for Phil Vassar’s “Prayer Of A Common Man” is a guitar-based, story song written by Jeffrey Steele and Craig Wiseman. “Love Is A Beautiful Thing” is the song and while originally recorded by Paul Brandt in 1999, Phil and his co-producer Mark Wright really punched up the song and turned it into a anthem about love in all forms.
“This Is My Life” actually was released before “love” and after following “The Women In My Life” and “The Last Day Of My Life” as singles I guess radio was a bit tired of songs from Phil Vassar which dealt with his ‘life.’ Still, Phil and co-writer Tom Douglas managed to write a melodic piece of music with lyrics that speak to everyday people who are going through tough times in the USA economy. With fiddles and slide guitars driving the melody with Phil’s piano playing, “Around Here Somewhere” has a hook as big as Texas. It’s a song that really reminds me of Phil’s strong songwriting skills.
Anyone nostalgic for their youth will appreciate “My Chevrolet.” While the song leans a bit too heavily on Bob Seger, it could do well at radio or as an Advertisement for Chevrolet. Never before has Phil’s tie to the Piano Man himself, Billy Joel, been more evident than it is on the album’s title track. It tells a story about how hard life can be on the “common man.” Featuring Los Lonely Boys, “Why Don’t Ya” is a fun little tex-mex song that is fun in every way.
While Phil Vassar won’t ever be confused with traditional country singers, he is good at what he does. As such, “Prayer Of A Common Man” a solid, respectable contemporary country music album.