Review: A showcase for William Prince’s noble baritone
Apr 13, 2023, 12:46 PM
(Six Shooter Records via AP)
“Stand in the Joy,” William Prince (Six Shooter Records)
Singer-songwriter William Prince played a couple of songs at a recent solo set in Nashville, Tennessee. Looking out at an admiring audience, he allowed himself a slight smile.
“I’m not going to lie,” he said. “This is going about as well as I hoped.”
Career momentum is building for Prince, a Canadian fluent in Americana. He has gone from performing in Manitoba coffee shops to making his debut in February at the Grand Ole Opry. Now comes a fine new album, “Stand in the Joy,” which showcases his noble baritone and balladry.
Built like a logger, Prince has a disarmingly warm, gentle delivery so commanding he need not raise his voice and rarely does. He and ace producer Dave Cobb keep tempos modest and accompaniment uncluttered, with acoustic guitar the instrumental anchor.
Prince, raised on a Peguis First Nation reservation, draws on his roots for material. He sings about the rumbling reaper, fending off heartbreak with drinks and a six-string, and loneliness that “tears you apart and then some.” There are also tunes contemplating new love, the rewards of compromise, and simple goodness.
“Can’t believe I woke up again,” Prince marvels on “Take a Look Around,” his voice coming from the chest, where the heart is.