William Prince
Photo: Jsenftphotography / Shore Fire Media

William Prince Chooses to ‘Stand in the Joy’ Even When It Hurts

William Prince makes sincere, heartfelt music that touches one’s soul and captures the spiritual feelings embedded in our connections to each other.

Stand in the Joy
William Prince
Six Shooter
14 April 2023

William Prince makes sincere, heartfelt music that touches one’s soul. His rich baritone voice captures the spiritual feelings embedded in our connections to each other and our yearnings for a higher power. Prince writes in plain language about the quotidian experiences that reveal the transcendent spirits in the everyday miracles of existence, such as falling in love, being young and innocent, the bonds that tie us together, and more. He convincingly notes that even doing what may seem to be mundane activities, like listening to a cover band play Metallica, watching a Goldie Hawn movie on TV, or sipping gin with another, can be golden.

As the album’s title Stand in the Joy suggests, he’s happy just being present and noticing the world around him. Prince has a wry sense of humor that implies he knows how absurd life can be. That adds to his appreciation of the world. Prince can be cosmic or comic, or both at the same time.

Consider a song like “Easier and Harder”, which he says was written on the day John Prine died and subtly references the Singing Mailman. Prince points out the seeming contradiction that the more we get comfortable with one another, the more difficult the affair can get. The small things one overlooks can seem like big things that matter, and vice versa. In spite of ourselves, with a little luck and love, things can work out.

Prince can make happiness sound simple, but he understands the opposite is often true. He grew up a member of the Peguis First Nation reservation in Canada. On a personal level, he experienced homelessness and poverty for many years. “This album celebrates the ability to choose happiness over anxiety and depression and make life easier for those I love,” he told a reporter recently. That certainly describes the overall mood of the new record. The lyrics capture the sense of wonder one feels when things turn out right.

Prince finds poetry in just being and understands the difficulty in finding and sustaining “Peace of Mind”. He sings lines such as, “In the morning just before the sound awakes Mother Nature walks naked in the street”, “Knew a girl with fireworks in her fingers each tooth a gem in her mouth”, and “A war going on in a seashell” as if extraordinary events, people, and objects were overlooked aspects of reality. Life may be a dream, as the Chords used to sing, but Prince “Had a dream where I was giving blood / Hooked up to a record machine.” Something in his blood turns his creative thought into song.

Stand in the Joy is Prince’s fourth studio record and the second consecutive one produced by Dave Cobb (Chris Stapleton, Brandi Carlile) in his Savannah, Georgia, hometown studio. The producer brings out the power embedded in Prince’s warm vocals. Whether he’s singing about his love for a woman or his feelings toward his son, one can hear him basking in the pleasure of his emotional state. That’s true even when he experiences the pain of separation as in the heartfelt “When You Miss Someone”. It hurts so good! He chooses to find the positive in it all.

RATING 8 / 10