William Prince Sounds Larger Than Life on 'Stand in the Joy'

BY Anthony BoirePublished Apr 18, 2023

The perfected sonic palette on William Prince's latest record, Stand in the Joy, rests in the careful mix of his deep, gentle baritone with lush, warm instrumentals. His last three albums for Six Shooter Records have played with different brushstrokes – the upbeat honky-tonk of Gospel First Nation, the floaty yet percussive rhythm section of Reliever, and the fiery upstart guitar work of his solo debut Earthly Days. It appears that Chris Stapleton's country producer superstar duo, Dave Cobb and Andrew Brightman, set their sights on helping the Peguis First Nation songwriter make himself a household name here. 

Wistful, teary early single "When You Miss Someone" opens the record, setting the stage with delicate keys and twang while keeping the vocals at the forefront. Things aren't sparse, but they're all in service of Prince's powerhouse performance across the record. "Young" conjures the same sunset sadness as many of the tracks, but Prince is riveting as he wanders through a lifetime's worth of memories. "Had a dream where I was giving blood / Hooked up to a record machine / Speaking in a fevered tongue / Staring at some desert trees" is just one part of his singular verses that could single-handedly help revive modern country. There's truly never a note out of place — keyboards and pianos sift in and out of focus, as plucks of guitar underline the soulful, sad rumble of Prince's voice. Every piece serves the song. 

Although Stand in the Joy, is, ironically, William Prince's most melancholy record to date, it's also his most beautiful and hopeful. Things never go beyond a mournful croon, especially as the album reaches its doleful, sparse climax on "Take a Look Around." Fans of the late John Prine and Johnny Cash will find much to love here, even as the campfire stories Prince spins are often more atmospheric and reflective. It's only fitting that William Prince recently played the storied Grand Ole Opry for the first time — he's well on the way to legend status himself. 
(Six Shooter)

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