Some nice things others have said about "Prayer of a Desperate Man"...
"Thom has seen the country music business from every conceivable angle, from co-writing hits like Kenny Rogers' "Love Will Turn You Around" to reaching No. 1 himself as part of the 1980s trio S-K-O ("Baby's Got a New Baby") and later signing artists like Kenny Chesney and Lonestar as a record label executive. But Prayer of a Desperate Man presents him simply as a crackerjack tunesmith with a knack for flashes of disarming humor, whether he's addressing the equalizing power of spirituality on the title cut or more simple pleasures on the candy-coated "(Ain't Nothin' Wrong With a) Kit Kat.""
Country Weekly - February 9, 2009
"Legendary Nashville songwriter Thom Schuyler has been writing hit tunes for decades, including the multi-million selling "16th Avenue" for Lacy J. Dalton; "A Long Line of Love" by Michael Martin Murphy, and "Life Gets Away" by Clint Black, both of which have been played more than a million times on the radio, as well as "Love Will Turn You Around" for Kenny Rogers, "Point of Light" for Randy Travis, and "Trains Make Me Lonesome" for George Strait. Another long list of singers has recorded his tunes from the Judds to Lisa Loeb, Levon Helm, and Conway Twitty. He's been an exec at RCA Records in Nashville and the Chairman of the Country Music Association (to name just a few of his business accomplishments), but he's first and foremost a songwriter.
Prayer of a Desperate Man is Schuyler's fifth solo album, and with all his music biz connections you'd be right to expect it to see the light of day on a major label. But after listening to a track or two, you'll realize why Schuyler chose to put it out on his own TJS label. Even though the playing is Nashville slick-there's not one wasted note on the disc-the studio polish gives the music a bright but not glossy sound, while the subject matter goes against the grain of country music's conservative soul. Two obvious examples are "Who Needs a Hummer?" and "This Is America." "Hummer" is a bluesy lament delivered with cheerful Dixieland jazz backing featuring Sam Levine's happy-go-lucky clarinet. Schuyler admits that a Hummer may be good in a wartime situation or for hauling fishing boats, but wonders about the kind of guy who uses it to impress his neighbors. He sings, "Tell me this, you little son of a bitch: Who needs a Hummer and why?" with an offhand humor, but there's no denying the anger behind the jest. "This Is America" is more serious, a love song to our country that imagines her as a troubled woman. The relationship between the singer and his nation is sadly dysfunctional, and while he lists off her failings, he implicitly acknowledges his own complicity in the relationship as he yearns for a deeper connection: "I want to take her up, kiss her and wake her up and hold her close in my arms / This is America / Think I'll turn the TV on." It's a sad, slow ballad with the dark sustained notes of Byron House's bass adding to the tune's bleak aura. On "3/4 Me", Schuyler gives voice to a dyslexic protagonist who learns too late that the difficulties he faced as a child may have been caused by a brain disorder, not his own laziness. He sings the song softly, just acoustic guitar, bass, and some sweet gospel-flavored harmonies, but the punch line will flatten you: "I'm half the man that I wanted to be / I wish life would stop kickin' the shit out of me."
He captures the poignant thrill of first love on the heartbreaking "When She Danced With Me", asks God to reconnect him with the father who died too young on "Talk to My Old Man", and faces down the encroaching specter of his aging friends with some understated humor on "Starting to Go", a list of the things we all used to be able to do that are getting harder with each passing year. On the lighter side, you have "(Ain't Nothin' Wrong With a) Kit Kat", a country blues song that celebrates the singer's favorite chocolate treat while tipping its hat to Chunky, Three Musketeers, and Henry Nestle, "Too Drunk", a lazy Southern groove that rejoices in the dubious pleasure of drink ("Too drunk to bowl, too drunk to dance / Too drunk to know I dribbled on my pants"), and "Feed the Devil", a gentle, spooky rockabilly number that takes hatemongers like Limbaugh, O'Reilly, and Hannity to task for feeding the worst aspects of the human soul. Its tongue-twisting lyrics are pure delight. Schuyler's vocals are compelling throughout, with an easygoing country soul that makes every track sound like a radio-ready winner, but the album's arch humor and keen political insight makes it sound more like the work of a radical Berkeley songwriter than a grizzled vet of the Nashville music biz.
CRAWDADDY - January 28, 2009
"Thom Schuyler helped create the in-the-round performance format at the Bluebird Cafˇ, and he tends to stick with that format during his frequent Bluebird performances. Next Tuesday, though, Thom celebrates the release of new album Prayer of a Desperate Man by doing something he hasn't done in a quarter century: Play a full night at the 'Bird with a band. The Bluebird night will be the kickoff for Thom's "World Tour of Nashville," in which he'll also play the Vine Street Christian Church's Fair Trade Coffee House Feb. 13, and the Country Music Hall of Fame's Ford Theater on Feb. 14. "That in-the-round concept came from Fred Knobloch and Don Schlitz," said Thom, who joined Knobloch, Schlitz and Paul Overstreet for the first in-the-round, in March of 1985. "At first, I thought it was perhaps the dumbest idea that had been conceived in the western hemisphere. But I warmed up to it, and so did the audience, and now it's still the formula at the Bluebird, at least four nights every week." On Feb. 10, Thom won't be passing songs around with a circle of songwriter pals. Instead, he'll offer up an all-Schuyler, all-night program of songs old and new. He's co-written a bevy of hits, including "16th Avenue," "A Long Line Of Love" and "Love Will Turn You Around." Prayer of a Desperate Man focuses on his recent work, including songs of love and faith and struggle. Oh, and one big car-bashing tune called "Who Needs A Hummer?" "I just want to write songs I enjoy," he said. "My entire adult life, something has always been running around in the back of my mind." For more information on the music and on upcoming tour dates, check www.thomschuyler.com."
From Tennessean music writer Peter Cooper
"Prayer of a Desperate Man's title track could be the best spiritual song of recent years. But singer-songwriter Thom Schuyler isn't content with that. He also tells us he loves Kit-Kats, hates the SOBs who drive Hummers, and loves often and sometimes well.
This is a consistently beautiful album delivered in a quietly expressive tenor by a man recalling some of his own resurrections and occasionally having a bit of fun. His lyrics are exquisite, sharing simple and personal stories and reflections and are accompanied by pedal steel, dobro, banjo, mandolin, guitar, bass, drums, and touches of more "exotic" instruments, including bouzouki, djembe, clarinet, saxophone, and trombone.
On the title track, Schuyler hints at the glory of wind, of the wolf's howl and the bumblebee's buzz, of Rodgers & Hammerstein and Beethoven, but he says the real power is in how God "answers and gathers His dancers / for the prayer of a desperate man."
Schuyler can have fun with the seriousness. On the prayerful "Talk To My Old Man," he asks God for a few minutes to talk with his father, whom he misses: "This isn't about the Mighty King of Glory / It's more about Prince Albert in a can / I'd love to smell his pipe and hear him laughing."
Mostly, though, Prayer of a Desperate Man is about more down-to-earth memories and dreams: a shy boy's high school dance, the gift of a guitar, thirsty souls, some of the ways he's been too drunk to function, and "(Ain't Nothing Wrong With A) Kit-Kat," which at least ought to earn Schuyler some advertising residuals.
The Nashville vet and former RCA executive's seven million-selling compositions include "16th Avenue," which dissects the dreams and realities of country music stardom. He signed Kenny Chesney, Lonestar, and Mindy McCready and worked with Alabama, Clint Black, Martina McBride, and Lorrie Morgan. He's past chairman of the Nashville Songwriters Association and the Country Music Association and co-founded the in-the-round format at the famed Bluebird Cafe. That's all good stuff. But this album is great. FWWeekly (Fort Worth, TX)
By Tom Geddie
"It has been far too long since we've had a new record from this former Capitol and MTM recording artist. The title tune to Thom's self-penned collection is a tender, heart-tugging ballad that showcases one of Music City's true songwriter treasures. For romance, listen to "When She Danced with Me." For humor, turn on "Who Needs a Hummer?" or "Too Drunk." For a meditation on mortality, check out "Starting to Go." This man is such a gem."
Bob Oermann, Music Row - January 26, 2009
"For a country session with really sharp teeth and legs, seek out Thom Schuyler, "Prayer of a Desperate Man." (www.thomschuyler.com, A). He's a legend at Nashville's singer/songwriter haunt, the Bluebird Cafe. And Schuyler's every turn of the page feels honest, thoughtful and often amusing."
Jonathan Takiff, Philadelphia Daily News - Februry 3, 2009
"Schuyler has been performing and writing for years, and he isn't about to stop now. He is just writing better and better songs. Prayer of a Desperate Man is a country album that is honest and straightforward, the way country music should really be."
Using the formula that I love (focusing almost entirely on the vocals and guitar, with everything else as background), he manages to get his songs across without distractions of production. For any country music listener."
John Shelton - Ivany Top 21
"If you frequent the Bluebird Cafˇ in Nashville, TN, you've probably seen singer/songwriter and former RCA executive Thom Schuyler perform. Known primarily as a songwriter, Thom still enjoys sitting in with other country greats and performing "in the round." Thom's hit songs include Love Will Turn You Around, A Long Line of Love, I Don't Know Where to Start and Life Get's Away. But even after almost 40 years in the business, Thom isn't slowing down; he just recently released a new album, Prayer of a Desperate Man."
Bob & Tom & Thom
"Thom Schuyler should be Poet Laureate!!! My fondest memory of Thom goes back to an evening at The Bluebird when he sang his "16th Avenue" as Bob Dylan. I remember the days of SKB and SKO and those magical songs. This long awaited CD is a blend of the lyrical and melodic along with Thom's Silversteinian humor. I can never look at a Hummer without hearing his take on the most pretentious of vehicles and who could pick up a drink without feeling sympatico with "Too Drunk." In these days of cotton candy songs, Thom Schuyler is a breath of fresh air and should be compulsory listening for wannabe songwriters. This gets a 1000 points out of 10!!!"