Tom Jones, the veteran singer from Wales, who turns 70 this year and has just completed ‘Praise and Blame’, his follow up to 2008’s acclaimed ‘24 Hours’ and quite simply his finest work to date. “I’m immensely proud of what we’ve achieved here,” he continues, “It’s such a natural, honest record. And it’s a record that makes you think.”
It is a truly remarkable record, one that captures the Tom Jones who listened to Mahalia Jackson and Sister Rosetta Tharpe on the radio as a child growing up, who thought gospel music was “just like rock’n’roll, every bit as exciting but with deeper lyrics”, the Tom Jones who belted out The Lord’s Prayer as a jubilatory spiritual in school assembly, “because that was the only way I knew how to sing it, it was natural for me.” This is Tom Jones going back to his roots on an album of gospel, blues, traditional and country songs, wearing his heart on his sleeve, emotionally raw and true.
When Tom conceived the concept for ‘Praise and Blame’, he jumped at the idea of working with Ethan Johns: “He had a particular vision,” says Tom, “a way of recording in that stripped bare studio setting, and it was exactly what I wanted and needed to do.” Tom describes the album as “Food for thought, it’s real, it’s natural, and in that sense it’s truly me.” We think after you give ‘Praise And Blame’ a listen you’ll totally agree.