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We travel through our time knocked by scuffs and singes, aches and agonies, letdowns and takedowns great and small. From the first number you dial in distress to the practiced observances that bring us together, who or what brings you comfort?
For his eagerly-awaited sophomore album, songwriter William Prince begins with a single word, Reliever, which informs a collection of exceptionally rendered explorations of what, who and how peace is found. Relievers come in all forms; for Prince, it is song. With its emphasis on words and confidently unfussed accompaniment, Reliever puts Prince’s gift for sparking powerful emotions of both personal and communal relevance at the fore. A masterclass in skillful simplicity, Reliever works a generous and profound kind of magic.
Prince’s influences and references, from the gospel of his childhood to Christopher Wallace’s sermons of a different sort, the pantheon of classic outlaw country singers, baseball and the great beyond, shape Reliever into a collection that approaches the big questions with humility and curiosity. At the edge of the ocean, between father and son, from stranger to lover, the album flows through the places and moments where real connections and healing happen. With the transformational power of letting go in songs such as “Always Have What We Had” and “Leave It By The Sea” to the all-consuming blaze of love in “The Spark,” Reliever finds many paths to the heart.
The complicated emotions that charge idealisms and realities of fatherhood are a central theme throughout Reliever. “I want to live to the second last day that my children do, selfishly so I can see them through” Prince sings on “That’s All I’ll Ever Become,” a sentiment of seismic love and dedication. “Wasted,” another album standout, echoes this purest unconditional love inwardly, to the child who is told he is loved no matter which path he chooses, and outwardly, to the listener, who is gently – and directly – spurred not to take this shuffle for granted.
To make Reliever, Prince reconvened with producers Dave Cobb in Nashville and Scott Nolan in Winnipeg, the team behind his JUNO Award winning debut and subsequent Glassnote Records reissue, Earthly Days. Prince’s trajectory from Peguis First Nation in Manitoba, Canada, to opening for Neil Young, has seen the relative newcomer find esteem and career-changing opportunity wherever he performs.