There aren’t many musicians out there who can stand confidently beside a career spanning close to 50 years and have their music remain not only relevant in thier homeland after such a monumental length of time but also continue to be relevant the world over. Sir Tom Jones is one of those artists who has managed to keep his career alight for almost half a century and continue to churn out chart topping records, keeping his work modern and his artistry sought after. Aside from his recording schedule the music icon has also roped in a whole new audience thanks to his place on the judging planel for The Voice UK allowing a younger audience to appreciate one of the UK’s most successful artists.
Throughout the years we have been delivered some of music’s most cherish additions by the singer including What’s New Pussycat, Delilah, She’s A Lady and It’s Not Unusual while the star followed in the footsteps of Elvis by taking his showmanship to Las Vegas where he become a powerful staple behind the brightly lit, entertainment capital for a number of years. Jones has also added his booming vocals to covers including Kiss, Burning Down The House and Mama Told Me Not To Come as well as his previous record, 2010’s Praise and Blame which added a gospel coated string to his bow.
Fast forward 2 years and we are now being presented with Jones’ 39th studio record. Spirit In The Room which sees Jones filling another track-listing with an array of pennings written by some of the stars’ peers and adding his signature grandeur touch to each of them.
A very confessional Tower of Song opens Tom’s latest record which walks us through a sentimental story of looking back on life and taking it all in with appreciation and fondness. With minimal instrumentation provided by a guitar and the humming of a synth to fill in the track it is a smooth and vulnerable introduction to Spirit In The Room. Leonard Cohen and Jennifer Warnes penned the number for Cohen’s 1988 record I’m Your Man but Jones has taken the track and put his husky and smokey scented stamp on the penning to make it his own and he does so with genuine conviction.
Americana flows thick on the records lead single Hit or Miss. An orgy of acoustic guitars collide on the track and bring us an upbeat country influenced hit that allows Jones to vocally shine on the track and equally shows off his versatility as a vocalist.
The older audience appears to be the aim for Spirit In The Room when it comes to song selection. Whether this will result in a hit record for Jones we can only wait and see but there is no denying that the vast majority of under 25’s won’t know most of the tracks featured on the record though that may be the best way to infiltrate the younger crowds. Ignorance is bliss as they say.
Further highlights on the record include the haunting Soul Of A Man that is drenched and dripping with southern soul and some gorgeous blues guitar moments as well as showcasing the stars rich and booming vocals more so than any of the other additions to the record. Linda and John Thompson’s touching Dimming Of The Day is another poetic inclusion that Jones plants his stamp on as he sways over a subtle drum thumping and some beautiful, lightly picked guitar strumming.
It is clear that Jones is capitalizing on his judging position on The Voice UK and the one thing that would have been better than the tracks that fill up the new record is a track-listing of new songs to add to Jones’ repertoire and the only shame is that that isn’t what this is. The covers Jones has selected to represent him at this stage in his career are well chosen but it is a pity he has rushed in on his position on The Voice UK to pump out another covers record so soon after the last instead of bringing us something fresh, particularly when we all know he has it in him.
::: RenownedForSound.com’s Editor and Founder –
Interviewing and reviewing the best in new music and globally recognized artists is his passion.
Over the years he has been lucky enough to review thousands of music releases and concerts and interview artists ranging from top selling superstars like 27-time Grammy Award winner Alison Krauss, Boyz II Men, Roxette, Cyndi Lauper, Lisa Loeb and iconic Eagles front man/songwriter, Glenn Frey through to more recent successes including Newton Faulkner, Janelle Monae and Caro Emerald.
Brendon manages and coordinates the amazing team of writers on RenownedForSound.com who are based in the UK, the U.S and Australia.