William Prince - Stand in the Joy
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Stand in the Joy (Six Shooter, 2023)

William Prince

Reviewed by Jim Hynes

When producer Dave Cobb's name appears on an album, you take quick notice. The Canadian singer-songwriter William Prince's fourth release, "Stand in the Joy," checks all the right boxes – a warm, soulful voice, enduring, relatable songs, and with Cobb at the wheel, a stellar group of musicians backing him.

The Winnipeg-based Prince has already garnered a Juno and Western Canadian Music Award. This is his second album produced by Cobb for the indigenous Peguis First Nation son of a preacher and DJ. In the past decade, Prince has conquered homelessness, poverty, his father's death and on the brighter side, marriage and the birth of his first son, These are all fodder for his songs and overriding theme of taking the high road, reveling in the joy of what one has rather than bemoaning the negatives.

If the title "When You Miss Someone" doesn't remind you of one of Prince's main influencers, Johnny Cash, the sentiment will match Cash's song of a similar name. Some have made comparisons of Prince's deeply resonant voice to that of fellow Canadian Leonard Cohen, but Prince is more melodic. "Only Thing We Need" allows you to draw your own conclusions. The intimate half-spoken, half-song story song "Tanqueray" flows ever so gently as he compares a half-drunk state to head-over-heels love. "Young" is a nostalgic ballad about reigniting a broken relationship, told from the perspective of earned wisdom.

His comforting balladeering is on display in the tear-in-the-beer "Broken Heart of Mine" while his spoken word intro to "Pasadena" evokes "The Silver-Tongued Devil and I" side of Kris Kristofferson. Two other not to be missed tunes are "Easier and Harder" which nods to John Prine and "Goldie Hawn," though just a tad sappy does have some memorable lyrics like these – "She's a record on the table/Reckless Daughter Joni Mitchell/Grace inside the way she carries/A willing heart that still surrenders/Sounds like the sweet surrender of love." There's no struggle with Prince's songs or delivery which go down as easy as any liquor he chooses to sing about.

CDs by William Prince

Stand in the Joy, 2023

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