Legendary singer Tom Jones releases his first new US studio album in 15 years on November 25th on S-Curve Records. Entitled '24 Hours', most of th 13 songs are co-written by Jones and produced by British duo Future Cut, who have recently helmed tracks for Lily Allen, Kate Nash, Estelle, and others.
Jones co-wrote over half of the songs on '24 Hours,' a first for him. "It's all very well just singing songs, but for this record I really wanted to get properly personal. I've been getting reflective recently, looking over my journey through life, and I wanted to make something that was all about me, my stories, to get that down in song. In other words, you listen to this album and you get the real me." While the production references the impassioned cinematic classics of his early career mixed with a current cross-genre template, the performances deliver the unique power and iconic sound of Jones' voice, given over to expressing the range and emotion of a mature man who has lived a large and full life.
In addition to Jones' co-written songs, Bono and the Edge of U2 contribute and play guitar on a brand new song "Sugar Daddy," written specifically for Jones and inspired by a meeting of the friends in a pub in Dublin. Elsewhere, Jones soars on the Tommy James and the Shondells classic "I'm Alive," produced by the team of S*A*M and SLUGGO (Gym Class Heroes, Metro Station), delivers a devastating take on Bruce Springsteen's "The Hitter," produced Steve Greenberg, Michael Mangini and Betty Wright (the team behind Joss Stone's first two albums), swings a classic cool latin beat on the Pumali Panthers' "Style and Rhythm," and performs a previously unrecorded composition by Stax legend Carla Thomas, "More Than Memories."
One song that perfectly encapsulates the intimate tone of so much of this record is 'The Road', a wonderfully impassioned ballad about man's one true love, his voice filling every note until it comes close to cracking. "That song is about my wife," he says, almost bashfully, "about how the road always leads back to her. You know, she may not have always liked some of the things I've done along the way, but I've always come back to her, and could never be apart from her. She is my rock, and has been for the past 51 years now. 'The Road' is my tribute to her."
However '24 Hours' is so much more than that. His version of Bruce Springsteen's 'The Hitter' (produced by Betty Wright, Mike Mangini and Steve Greenberg-their first production togther since helming Joss Stone's first two acclaimed albums) is remarkable, the sad tale of a boxer on his last legs, Tom conveying the man's broken resolve with a sense of drama redolent of Richard Burton at his Shakespearean best. His performance of "More Than Memories," a "lost," previously unrecorded composition by Stax Queen Carla Thomas is equally poignant. This air of reflection reached its apex with what is perhaps the album's pivotal moment, a Tom Jones co-written song called 'Seasons' in which he confronts his past with an unflinching eye. "There's a reason for passing time," he sings. "These are the seasons of my life." And the sense that this is an historic Tom Jones album, one that brings the true substance, grit, strength and age of the man is best exemplified by the title track; a spine-tingling gaze into the abyss, delivered with sublime gravitas.
At the age of 68, and a recently anointed knight of the realm, Sir Tom Jones is still firing on all cylinders, still a huge music fan, still a genuinely great artist. '24 Hours' is about to send him back into the world's arenas and hearts. Or, in his own more humble words, "I'm just opening up shop again. Let's see who comes in through the door."
If He Should Ever Leave You
We Got Love
In Style And Rhythm