Album Review: Joy Williams – Front Porch

Joy Williams evokes her name in the beautifully written music on this record. Having been a fan of hers since, well, forever, this is by far my favourite album from her discography.

It didn’t take a few listens to get into it (unlike her previous release Venus) nor did I have to try to find things to say about it because Front Porch in its entirety, is a masterpiece.

The opening track ‘Canary’ sets the vibe for the whole record. A steady beat cradles your ears and rhythmic guitar gently carries the listener along, as the lyrics set the scene – “No I will not fall silent, a canary in a mine. I will sing”. And sing she does, through 12 gracefully crafted songs.

The title track for the album is my personal favourite. Front Porch allows audiences to easily relate to subject matter which means its melodies are inclusive and warm, as well as incredibly catchy! The cleverly placed strings on this track provide wonderful instrumental breaks that are soft and complimentary to Joy’s vocals, the chorus lyrics state –“whatever you’ve done, it doesn’t matter, ‘cause darling we’re all a little splintered and battered”. Who doesn’t want to relate to a theme of shared imperfection and forgiveness?

This record feels very personal to its artist, to the point where you can hear the close connection shared between musicians featured. Peppered with biblical references, it gives us an insight into some of Joy’s experiences with religion and this adds to the whole album, an air of importance. The song ‘When Creation Was Young’ says – “Before Adam fell for eve, I was loving you”, this is a bold claim in itself, but paired with distinctly folk style finger picked guitar and subtle angelic harmonies on the chorus, you come to believe her every word.

Sweet lyrics and heartfelt sentiment is a running theme throughout the album and ‘The Front Porch’ is such a welcoming collection of songs, even first time listeners to the folk/ Americana genre will enjoy it.

The production of the album is also brilliant. Its raw but polished quality is pleasing to any ear and revives traditional recording techniques. It was shared by Joy herself, on Instagram, that she ‘poured her soul into every nook and cranny of this album’.

Well Joy, if this is what your soul sounds like, we love it and we look forward to what you do next.

Shannon Pearl Powell