After successfully releasing her first project last year, Joy Williams is back with another solid album on Reunion Records. This project, By Surprise, is the embodiment of a change from they style represented by her debut album. Williams penned many of the songs herself, and the music has a more acoustic feel.
The album opens up with "New Day," an upbeat song with a sound reminiscent of Sheryl Crow or Nelly Furtado. The lyrics point towards an optimistic new day, with another chance - "Everything's gonna be alright/ Another chance, another try/ Open your eyes cause the sun is about to shine" The next track, "I Wonder" sounds almost exactly like "New Day" but with different lyrical content. \ "Every Moment" follows with an orchestral feel, giving the disc more variety musically. The title track, "By Surprise" has an almost country feel to it, but the lyrics express the desire to be taken home by the Lord - "I'm ready now but somehow/ I know You'll take me by surprise." The CD also includes a mellow sounding "Desperate," a song driven by acoustic guitar, more of the sound found on the first two tracks, and a beautiful rendition of "The Love of the Lord Endures," backed by soft piano and strings.
Over all, this is a very well-rounded album, a step forward for Williams musically and lyrically. I found myself looking forward to her next project at the end of listening to the album. There are areas of improvement, and I think the album could showcase a few more styles of music to compliment the vocal talent that Williams owns, but it is a very solid sophomore album from a talented young woman.- Review date: 11/13/02, written by Colin Ake
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