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Spirit In The Room
By

Rating
With 'Spirit In The Room', Tom covers a range of songs with an unprocessed passion that make them his own. There is a raging interpretation of Tom Wait's 'Bad As Me', a wonderful rendition of Odetta's 'Hit Or Miss', the front porch blues of Vera Hall Ward's 'Travelling Shoes' and a stunning reading of the other-worldly 'Charlie Darwin' by Low Anthem.

'Spirit In The Room' once again brings together Ethan Johns (Brit Award Producer of the Year 2011) Richard Causon on vintage keyboards, piano, guitars (Ryan Adams, Kings Of Leon and Rufus Wainwright), Warpaint's Stella Wazgawa on drums, and Ian Jennings and Sam Dixon on bass.

Recorded at Bath's Real World studios, 'Spirit In The Room', like it's predecessor 'Praise and Blame' allows an unvarnished Tom Jones to bring a voice to songs as only he can.
Product Details
Performer Notes
  • Audio Mixers: Dominic Monks; Ethan Johns.
  • Recording information: Real World Studios, Bath, England; Three Crows Studios, Wiltshire, England.
  • Photographer: Julian Broad.
  • Although it isn't the revelation or surprising, extraordinary achievement that his 2010 record Praise & Blame was, Spirit in the Room is another solid, very welcome set of stripped-back interpretations from Tom Jones, produced once again by Ethan Johns, making those comparisons to Johnny Cash's late-period recordings with Rick Rubin all the more fitting. Know that the songbook has changed from classic (spirituals, blues, and traditional numbers) to more contemporary (Paul Simon, Leonard Cohen, Paul McCartney, the Low Anthem, and others) and that Jones and Johns are both in top form and you've got the picture, along with that same frustration that no matter how fun "What's New Pussycat?" and "Sex Bomb" were, a couple more albums like this along the way would have been rich and rewarding. Jones joins the ranks of singers who have really "felt" Cohen's words in "Tower of Song," here in one of its most naked of performances, but as the dark carnival of Tom Waits' "Bad as Me" gives way to a frail, delicate, and lonely Richard Thompson song, it's obvious this one doesn't have that last one's purposeful layout, at least not until the fourth quarter. Exiting with the off-kilter and brittle "All Blues Hail Mary" (Joe Henry) and the spiritual/secular strangeness that's "Charlie Darwin" (Low Anthem) makes for a compelling suite, and while Spirit in the Room matches its predecessor on a track-by-track level, it's only in those last moments that the whole package seems as thematically sound and well designed. ~ David Jeffries
Professional Reviews
Q (Magazine) (p.105) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "[H]e thrives when bringing gravitas to the sparse blues of 'Soul Of A Man' and extraordinary tenderness to the Low Anthem's 'Charlie Darwin'..."

Mojo (Publisher) (p.82) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "The grain and gravitas of Jones's voice is perfectly suited to this diverse material, all unfussily arranged by Ethan Johns."

Uncut (magazine) (p.77) - "[A] serious album of serious covers....It suggests a great artist finding new and surer ground."
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