For his eagerly-awaited sophomore album, songwriter William Prince begins with 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.
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. With the song “Breathless,” Earthly Days introduced Prince’s poignant philosophy and rich baritone to the world. Prince’s trajectory from Peguis First National in Manitoba, Canada, to opening for Neil Young, has seen the relative newcomer find esteem and career-changing opportunity wherever he performs.
It’s the kind of sound many musicians take years searching for, and the arrival of Mariel Buckley’s spectacular sophomore full-length album, Driving In The Dark, proves that she hasn’t taken a moment for granted. Buckley has planted her flag firmly as an Americana artist who’s here for the long haul, one with the chops to hang with the greats she finds herself sharing stages with more often these days.