David Livingston, Getty Images P.O.D.'s thoroughly contemplative video for…
- Posted on Jun 4th 2010 7:00AM by Julian Marszalek
Sir Tom's forthcoming album, 'Praise and Blame,' finds the veteran singer working with producer Ethan Johns (Kings of Leon, Ryan Adams) as he comes full circle to embrace the gospel, blues and country music which inspired him in post-war Wales.
The setting of a delightfully ornate church bathed in beatific light in the middle of London's Mayfair proved to be an appropriate location as Jones took the stage with a stripped-down band of guitar, bass, drums and keyboards to deliver an almost fragile rendition of Bob Dylan's 'What Good am I?' Shorn of his usual big band accompaniment, this was Tom Jones as few of the specially invited audience had heard before. Yet here was also a man who displayed a winning blend of frailty as much as professionalism -- despite momentarily forgetting the words to his next scheduled single, 'Did Trouble Me,' Jones seamlessly eased himself back into the song with humour and grace.
But for every moment of tenderness there was one of raw, emotional power. John Lee Hooker's 'Burning Hell' saw Jones' rich voice locking horns with sliding guitar riffs, all the while evoking the consequences of a life of sin.
There's been much talk of Jones "doing a Johnny Cash" with 'Praise and Blame' but this is disingenuous at best. Whereas Cash and producer Rick Rubin tackled contemporary influences in the singer's own idiosyncratic style, Jones and Johns have gone back directly to the source material. Starkly honest and never less than gripping, this was Tom Jones in top flight in a guise that's perfectly suited to his immense talent.