Canadian singer-songwriter William Prince has described his musical sound as “21st Century Northern-Interlake-Country-Gospel” which was shaped by listening to country music’s outlaw singers and growing up as the son of generations of preachers in the Peguis First Nation community in Manitoba, Canada.
Heading to the sold out first UK show of his November tour which took place at Bush Hall in London, the venue was set in the mystique of perfectly set red light at one of London’s most iconic venues which was perfectly fitting for Prince to share his stories.
The tour which also includes stops in Bath, Manchester and Glasgow in addition to European shows in Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands marks Prince’s third voyage across the pond in 2023 following a January trip coinciding with Americana Music Week and a brief visit in July for the Cambridge Folk Festival but the first opportunity for many to hear ‘Stand in the Joy’ having been able to fully digest it.
When we spoke to William ahead of the release he shared “It’s my love letter to love and time, to my wife to be and my son, giving thanks and showing that whilst I’m capable of interpreting and feeling grief, loss and all these things, there is also this side of me that very much wants to lean into the joy and goodness now that it is more prevalent in my life and now that it is a normal thing when you’re not struggling.” The songs reflect this yet the thoughts and emotions behind the songs are conveyed with a manner of storytelling that captures your imagination in ways similar to a child hearing a fairy tale for the first time where you are completely immersed and captivated in every detail.
Through his songs, the stories behind them and one of the most unforgettable vocals you will encounter, Prince takes you on a journey which whilst being his own journey, it is poignant and reflective in a way that it is impossible not to be able to relate to. The messages of embracing love, standing in the joy and belief that there are more good days than bad when you embrace life are valuable and beautifully shared in no better way than ‘Easier and Harder’ which followed him sharing his story about the late great John Prine.
The hour and fifteen minute set saw Prince being joined by his friend Stephen Arundell playing electric guitar alongside him in was a completely uplifting set including a unexpected yet beautifully harmonious crowd singalong of the Backstreet Boys classic ‘I Want It That Way’ (and reminding the audience the truth that they are either a Backstreet Boys fan or they are a liar) along with the rest of the show which throughout emphasised optimism and the warmth of the path that culminated in the beautiful ‘Breathless’ from his 2015 ‘Earthly Days’ release which ended the main portion of this joyous set. When we last spoke, he shared that he aspires to headline another of London’s iconic venues; The Union Chapel, which given that this was his first sold out show in the city and the devoted audience which was hanging on every word, this goal could be creeping ever closer for one of the most captivating storytellers in Americana music.
True country music is honesty, sincerity, and real life to the hilt. Garth Brooks