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Spirit In The Room

4.2 out of 5 stars 104 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 23, 2013
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Editorial Reviews

Knighted for his service to music, with numerous gold and platinum records and Top 40 Hits, Sir Tom Jones is one of the all time great vocalists to emerge from the British Invasion. Following in the spirited and undaunted footsteps of the critically lauded Praise & Blame (2010), and Pop icon though he is, Jones has delivered a landmark album in 2013 that has a unique kind of magic and is different from anything he has ever done. Spirit in the Room features all new repertoire made up of gospel, blues and Americana, and includes songs by Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Odetta, Paul McCartney, Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen. Produced by Ethan Johns (Ryan Adams, Kings of Leon, Ray LaMontagne, Laura Marling) Spirit in the Room marks a new, adventurous path for Jones, one that is rootsy, bluesy, bold, and raw.
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Digital Booklet: Spirit In The Room
Digital Booklet: Spirit In The Room
Album Only

Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 23, 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Rounder
  • ASIN: B009A881FE
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,740 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Spirit in The Room is a great CD and is an even more honest look into the heart of Tom Jones than Praise and Blame, his last CD. I've been a TJ fan since the early 90's and liked him for many reason but his ability to take chances and be himself was the most appealing to me. This CD is the most bare bones performance that I have ever heard from him. You can tell by this CD and Praise and Blame that Tom is reflecting heavily on his faith and the events of his life. He's not too worried about keeping up with today's scene like we saw before (The Lead and How To Swing It - 1994) and he's moved on from collaborating (Reload - 1999) but some how he appeals to millions through raw talent.

The arrangements on this CD are simple, sometimes even borderline jam session but I believe the message comes across quite clear that his soul is the centerpiece of this entire work. Don't look for many uptempo numbers on here, he gets to mid-tempo on a few but many numbers such as All Blues Hail Mary are mellow with light percussion or no percussion such as in Charlie Darwin and maybe some simple riffs heard in I Want To Come Home.

Overall I love this CD for it's honesty. Artists like Jones have earned the right to bare their soul in a music industry that no longer embraces creativity. TJ is old skool. Using the incredible baritone that God gave him to tell the world what is on his mind. I was skeptical about Jones' search for meaning in life when I first heard Praise and Blame but he's confirmed to me that he has matured 110% as an artist (though still reaching and growing).
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For a long time fan of Tom Jones, the Tom Jones most people know, the sexy, swaggering swinger, the belter of R&B classics and corny country ballads, the bigger than life crooner of movie themes and Las Vegas show stoppers, this new CD represented a challenge, one I wasn't sure I wanted to approach ... except I had heard him stretch his wings and venture into new directions before, and usually with great success (listen to his "Goin' Down Slow," and "Love Letters," featured on the Mike Figgis-directed segment of the TV documentary, The Blues (Martin Scorsese Presents Red, White and Blues). Not really crazy about the samples I heard from another recent Tom Jones effort, Praise & Blame, I wasn't too excited to learn there was more from a great voice whose star I thought was surely on the descent. Then someone sent me a link to a video of Jones doing Leonard Cohen's "Tower of Song," and I was mesmerized. Here was a great, crowd pleasing entertainer who had somehow crossed over into a higher level of artistry. Don't take my word for it, and don't just dismiss him after hearing a few samples here on Amazon. This is deep, soulful music, sung by a voice like no other, with lyrics clearly understood and communicated. And the song choices! Odetta's overlooked, magnificent "Hit Or Miss," from a long out-of-print album of then-contemporary folk songs, gets an inspired, fresh delivery. Richard Thompson's oft-covered "Dimming Of The Day" is sung with the urgency of a man who knows he's on the final leg of his path to glory.Read more ›
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Imagine you're sitting in a little dive and you've just watched the band go off on break. Your buddy hands you a brew and you take a big drink. then he nudges the guy next to him and says "I hear you've got some new numbers. Lets hear a few." So, one of the guys sits down at the drums and starts a clean beat. Then the guitar player chimes in with clear, clean back-up. And that guy opens his mouth and starts to sing - raw, earthy tones that are just a bit world-weary and that are accented just right by the spare music backing him. That's "Spirit in the Room." If you're looking for lush orchestration, multiple back-up singers and pop lyrics, then this CD is not for you. Tom Jones voice is perfect for these tracks and he's forgotten more about phrasing than most singers ever learn. Its incredible.
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Over the years I have liked Tom Jones, especially his forays into styles that he doesn't normally do. This album is awesome and I like every track. I was going to list my favorites, but looking over the track list I realize that I like them all. If I did have to pick one, it would have to be Tower of Love. Tom Jones must be the only person who can sing Leonard Cohen as good as Leonard Cohen. As my title states, I really like the rougher, slower sound of his singing with more deep down emotion.
Like someone else said, if you want What's New Pussycat, than listen to that. If you want to hear some heartfelt singing, than listen to this.
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Other than the Southern gospel-blues of Blind Willie Johnson ("Soul of a Man"/1930) and the traditional gospel of "Travelin' Shoes" (associated with Vera Ward Hall in the '30s), which seem like overflow material from his previous "Praise & Blame" album (2010--also produced by Ethan Johns), "Spirit in the Room" is a dual-era singer-songwriter covers album. Three of the covered songs (by Odetta, Richard & Linda Thompson, and Leonard Cohen) are from the 1970s and 1980s, while the other five (by Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, Tom Waits, Joe Henry and Low Anthem) go back no further than three years. While I find that his stunningly powerful take on "Soul of a Man" blows everything else away here (Jones is now clearly among the greatest living deep southern soul-blues singers on the planet, no matter that he hails from Wales), he is solidly soulful on everything else. I would even venture to add that all but three of the eight modern-era songs are, to one degree or another, improved by the Jones/Johns pairing of vocals and production values. Ironically, the two that are least up to the originals are two of the finer efforts here: "Tower of Song" and "Hit Or Miss." It's just that Leonard Cohen and Odetta operate on another plane and can't be touched. Jones will have to settle for the second-best versions of these songs that one is likely to encounter. I would rate his "Dimming of the Day" a dead heat with Richard & Linda Thompson (not that there is any kind of contest afoot); both are soberingly affecting. The best of the rest is easily the hauntingly apocalyptic final (as it would have to be!) track, "Charlie Darwin" (the Low Anthem cover).Read more ›
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