LA TIMES: Van Morrison & Tom Jones team for a wild night at the Hollywood Bowl


Not all of the significant voices of pop music from the 1960s are hunkered down in the Coachella Valley this week for Desert Trip, and two of them got together Thursday the Hollywood Bowl to demonstrate the veracity of the Who’s songwriter Pete Townshend’s observation that “It’s the singer, not the song, that makes the music move along.”

Van Morrison and Tom Jones, two of the most revered singers to emerge at the same time Desert Trip’s six headliners were starting out packed the Bowl for a chance to see them share a stage. Share they did, both during Jones’ opening set and again after Morrison and his band took over to finish the three hour-plus evening.

Morrison just turned 71, putting him slightly on the younger side of the average age of 72 for Desert Trip’s big guns: Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, the Who, Neil Young and Roger Waters. Jones, now 76, is a bit on the other side of that mathematical equation, but both demonstrated that the passing of years doesn’t have to equate with diminishing of musical acumen.

Over the last five years, Welsh singer Jones has put out three of the finest albums of his long career — “Praise and Blame,” “Spirit in the Room” and last year’s “Long Lost Suitcase” — in which he mines the blues, R&B, gospel and folk influences that have always been lurking beneath the polished pop music he made for much of that career.

Morrison too on his just-released album, “Keep Me Singing,” builds on similar blues, jazz and soul elements that have long infused his music, that has put him on a par through his life with rock’s greatest songwriters and made him the envy of many of them for interpretive skills as a vocalist that put him in the company of Ray Charles and other great soul singers.

That gave them a great reason, not just an excuse, to join forces for this one intersection of their respective current U.S. tours.

Over the last five years, Welsh singer Jones has put out three of the finest albums of his long career — “Praise and Blame,” “Spirit in the Room” and last year’s “Long Lost Suitcase” — in which he mines the blues, R&B, gospel and folk influences that have always been lurking beneath the polished pop music he made for much of that career.

Morrison too on his just-released album, “Keep Me Singing,” builds on similar blues, jazz and soul elements that have long infused his music, that has put him on a par through his life with rock’s greatest songwriters and made him the envy of many of them for interpretive skills as a vocalist that put him in the company of Ray Charles and other great soul singers.

That gave them a great reason, not just an excuse, to join forces for this one intersection of their respective current U.S. tours.

Article written by Randy Lewis for The LA TIMES

Article available online here

Tom Jones - The Americas Tour Ticket Competition



To celebrate Tom Jones’ Americas Tour starting in September!!! We are giving you the chance to win a pair of tickets to a show of your choice.

There are twenty pairs of tickets up for grabs.

As Tom’s latest album the critically acclaimed Long Lost Suitcase comprises of some of his favourite songs that have sound-tracked some great memories, we wanted to hear/see what songs, pictures and memories would be in your Long Lost Suitcase ?

To enter share your Lost Lost Suitcase on social media using #TJournal or you can directly upload your entries to the #TJournal page on Tom’s website right here

Good luck and see you there! :)

(The Long Lost Suitcase competition runs from Monday 22nd August and closes Thursday 25th August, after which twenty winners will be selected and winners will be revealed on Thursday 25th August. Each prize is for a pair of tickets for a Tom Jones concert only, travel and accommodation will not be provided.)

Mix Magazine - Singin’ With the Band


Singin’ With the Band

Ethan Johns Brings Tom Jones Back to His Roots

Remember what it was like when you were a kid, how much fun you’d have when you started making music with your mates?” asks producer Ethan Johns. “Just the four of you, sitting around, playing live and making music. That’s what this is.” “This” is Long Lost Suitcase, the third in a series of albums Johns has produced for legendary singer Tom Jones, following the acclaimed Praise & Blame (2010) and Spirit in the Room (2012). The disc, released by S-Curve Records in October 2015, follows the same winning formula as its predecessors: putting the singer in a studio with top musicians and letting him do what he did in the beginning of his career—sing live with a great band. “Ethan knew that I started with a small band in Wales when I used to play the pubs and clubs—a rhythm section, and that was it,” Jones explains.
“I knew some of the things he had done, with Ray Lamontagne, The Kings of Leon and Ryan Adams. I asked him what he had in mind, and he said, ‘I’d like to get you into a studio with very few musicians and just get to the essence of your voice,’ which he felt hadn’t been done before.” “To get the opportunity to put a microphone in front of a singer like Tom, who’s lived the kind of life he has lived and the experiences he can put into delivering a lyric, with that voice, that was just too good an opportunity to miss,” Johns says. All three albums were recorded by engineer Dominic Monks, whom Johns had met at Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios in 2007 while mixing Crowded House’s Time On Earth. “I was working in a very small control room, struggling to get a decent sound, so I gave Dom a crack at it,” Johns recalls. “I had spent three or four days at it, and he got a staggering sound in about 15 minutes. He walked in, 24 years old, and didn’t even bat an eyelid. So I was, like, ‘Right, do you fancy coming and working with me?’
By that point, I’d engineered almost every record I’d ever made, and I really wanted to take on an apprentice, to work with someone young to whom I could pass on what I’d learned from my dad.” Their first project together was Ray LaMontagne’s Grammy-nominated Gossip in the Grain in 2008, and they have been working together ever since. While the first two albums were recorded at Real World, Suitcase was tracked, mostly, at The Distillery in Somerset, a studio built by musician Sam Dyson initially to record his own band, The Chemists. Designed by Neil Grant (who also designed Real World), The Distillery boasts a fine mic collection, tape machine and a live room with a stone floor mezzanine. While the studio houses a Neve 8036, Suitcase was recorded through a Universal Audio 610 console built originally for Frank Sinatra’s home studio by Bill Putnam. “We ran Tom’s vocals through that,” says Monks. “It’s the most extraordinary sounding bit of gear I think I’ve ever faded up.”
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Engineer Dominic Monks setting up one of only a few drum mics with drummer Jeremy Stacey.
Suitcase was tracked to an Otari MTR-90 analog deck, using ATR Magnetics tape at 15 ips. “Sixteen tracks is fine for us,” Monks explains. “When you only have three or four mics on a drum kit, and a small band, that’s plenty of space. And a wider track means less noise and a richer sound all around.”
Song suggestions came mostly from Johns, Jones himself and Jones’s son, Mark Woodward, who works closely with his father. The main criteria was that they resonated with Jones. “Ethan knew I love gospel, country and blues,” says Jones, “so that’s what we did.” The resultant list included, among others, Willie Nelson’s “Opportunity to Cry,” Little Willie John’s “Take My Love (I Want to Give It),” Los Lobos’ “Everybody Loves a Train,” the spiritual “He Was a Friend of Mine,” Henry Russell’s “Tomorrow Night,” The Rolling Stones’ “Factory Girl” and Hank Wiliams’ “Why Don’t You Love Me Like You Used To Do.”
“When I learn a song, I can actually see the story,” Jones explains. “On ‘Everybody Loves a Train,’ for example, I see the concrete platforms and the people. Where are these people going? I put myself in the story of the song. I’m living it as I’m singing it. And I’m seeing it. Every song is like a mini movie to me. If I’m not seeing it, I can’t expect other people to.”
“Tom can sell you anything,” Monks smiles. “He actually used to be a vacuum cleaner salesman, door to door. And I’m sure he sold a lot of them.”
Bring in the Band
Johns assembled a core group of topflight musicians to back Jones for three separate five-day sessions in 2013: the last week in March, last week in June and first week in November, recording 11, nine and nine songs, respectively.
Besides the talented Johns on guitar and other instruments, the producer brought in guitarist Andy Fairweather-Low, an old friend, it turns out, to both he and Jones. “We both come from South Wales,” the singer notes. “I used to see him playing in London at the same time I was, with his band, The Amen Corner. And Andy was friends with Ethan’s father, Glyn—he remembers Ethan when he was a baby.”
Says Johns: “I’ve known [Andy] all my life. He was a hero of mine, growing up. He would come ‘round to the house and would always take time to help me restring my guitar or show me a new chord. So to be able to stand in a room with him and make this record was a real treat.”
Bass was handled by either Dave Bronze or Ian Jennings, while the drummer was another veteran, Jeremy Stacey. “A lot of thought goes into what Jeremy plays,” Johns explains. “He’d bring maybe three kits, at least five snares, 15 or 20 cymbals. He’d even vary what sticks he was using or the type of hardware.”
The band played live with Jones singing live in the studio, all grouped together closely, without headphones, Jones included. “To me,” he says, “it was a more natural way of recording. When I was first singing in pubs in Wales, we’d rehearse in the pub, we’d get some songs together, and then we’d go out and try them. There were no preset arrangements. They were done on the spot.”
The method is one Johns generally prefers on nearly all his recordings. “Everything sounds better if you do it that way,” he explains. “You’re pitching, you’re tuning, you’re timing—you’re balancing yourselves. That’s a fairly fundamental skill as a musician. If you’re stuck in headphone world, you’re isolated from everybody. Everybody’s got their own headphone mixes, listening to their own mix. You can’t get a musical conversation going. Overdubbing is a one-way conversation. If the thing you’re playing off is stagnant, and not responding to what you’re playing, then what are you doing? Who are you playing for? You’re certainly not making music with the band. You’re doing something else. To me, it’s criminal to take a singer like Tom, go away and record a track without him, and then ask him to come in and sing it on his own.”
Johns and Monks set up the room with the musicians close to each other, separated by low gobos, and Jones facing them so that all could see and hear each other. “You really want everybody to be primarily listening to the vocalist,” Johns explains, “because that’s where the beginning of a great take will occur, in the vocal performance. That should be inspiring and leading and informing every choice that you make as a musician. We’re all trying to catch the same wave. Tom responds as much to what we’re playing as us responding to him. You don’t have one thing without the other. If we’re not feeling it, all five us, it’s not gonna happen.”
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The Universal Audio console built by Bill Putnam for Frank Sinatra.


The method suited Jones just fine. “They’re listening, they’re hearing the expression in my voice—they’re living in it the same as I am,” he says. “Jeremy does little things with his brushes, for example, following my phrasing. It’s like he reads my mind—he seems to know what phrasing I’m using and puts in accents to accent it. He changes things as I’m changing them. It’s extraordinary.”


Monks would mike Jones with a classic RCA 44, which, he notes, had benefits besides its inherent tonal qualities. “Half the drum sounds come in the back end of the 44,” he explains. “Everybody is coming down Tom’s mic. You can solo Tom’s mic and just enjoy the records. That’s the sound, basically. I would treat that as if it was the main microphone, as you would a main pair in a classical recording. Everything else in the room is a spot mic.”


For louder tracks, the engineer would place a Shure SM7 directly next to the 44. “The 44 is a figure-8 mic, so if you stick a cardioid—like the SM7, which has great rejection out the back—next to it and mix them together, you end up with a hypercardioid microphone.”

Johns played his guitars through a 10W or 15W Magnatone Lyric amp, a Vox AC4TV and a Fender Excelsior, while Fairweather-Low had a 15W Supro, with a single 12-inch speaker. “The key to recording in this manner is you’ve got to be getting a great sound, but at low volume,” Johns explains. “So lots of very low-wattage amps knocking around.” The Vox was used for the grungier leads, though Johns sometimes would use a diminutive 1W Marshall. “It’s a little boutique handmade Marshall, with incredible sound.”


Monks miked the amps with a Coles or Telefunken C12, often with a Unidyne SM57 alongside; for smaller combos, a 57 or a Sennheiser 421 in the back, mixed together with the front mics, out of phase, onto a single track. “That’s a trick I sometimes do on those really small amps, when you’re trying to get some of the low-end resonance output from them,” Monks says. “If you just put a mic in front, they can sometimes be a bit small.”


For Stacey, Monks had the drummer bring his own vintage AKG D30 bass drum mic, supplementing a selection that included C12s, U 87s, Coles, the 57s and AKG D19s, the latter for louder tracks. “It would change drastically from track to track,” Johns says. “I’d marvel at how Dom would change his miking technique depending on the sound Jeremy was making.”


Four additional tracks were cut elsewhere, all of which had been attempted previously, but, upon late review of existing tracks, not to Johns’ satisfaction. So a year after the last Distillery recordings, Jones, Johns and Monks went to Real World and tracked “Elvis Presley Blues” and “He Was a Friend of Mine,” with just Johns on a tremoloed guitar and Jones singing alongside him. In a rare instance of overdubbing, Johns doubled his guitar, producing a unique stereo effect. “We only did two takes of the song,” the producer reveals. “We put the guitar track from the alternate and flew it into the first pass—that’s that guitar sound.” Two more, “Factory Girl” and “Honey, Honey,” were recorded anew at Paul Epworth’s studio, The Church, with Irish band Rackhouse Pilfer.


Johns mixed most of the album himself at his home studio, Three Crows East. Since he doesn’t own a 16-track analog machine, the tracks were transferred to Pro Tools at The Distillery, then converted to analog via a set of RADAR converters before being mixed through his API analog console and recorded to a Studer C37 ¼-inch 2-track.


“I do quick mixes, almost like roughs,” Johns reveals. “There’s very little processing, no program compression or bus compression, and very little EQing on anything. It’s all balance. And I spend no more than 30 or 45 minutes on any song, and then just live with them for a few weeks.”


Occasional slap echo does appear, Johns using either an Electro-Harmonix Memory Man or Lexicon PCM42, in lieu of several vintage Echoplexes he has around. “It’s pretty crunchy; it has its moments,” he laughs. “There’s a lot of old gear here, so it’s always a bit of ‘fingers crossed.’ You’re running tape, an old console, tubes everywhere. You just hope that nothing’s gonna fail catastrophically during the live take, during the keeper.”


Tracks like “Why Don’t You Love Me Like You Used To Do” can even end up with a mono mix, as was the case here, giving it an authentic 78 rpm sound. “I think one of the enemies of creative record making is decision deferral,” Johns says. “You should just trust your instincts. I mixed that song four or five times, and just one day went, ‘You know what? I’m gonna mix this mono.’”


The process, from beginning to end, was just Tom Jones and his band, playing songs. “You can hear the joy in those songs, in his voice, because Tom is having a good time,” Johns states. “The musicians are being allowed to play and express themselves and perform. And Tom is just sitting in front of people that he loves, making music he wants to sing. When you hear the smile in his voice, it’s real.”


Article written by: Matt Hurwitz for Mix Magazine

Photos: Mark Woodward

Article available online here



🎉Very excited to reveal YOUR VERY OWN section of my website #TJOURNAL  ! 🎉

I have created a fun and exciting area for YOU, MY FANS to share memories, tour photos  📷and videos 🎥 with the hope of connecting us all together from around the world 🌎, as I am really enjoying seeing your #TJournal posts this summer ☀️and all the fun you have coming to the shows! 🎫

To get involved share your memories and media using #TJournal on Twitter and Instagram or you can upload directly onto the website.

Check it out and get sharing your #TJournal memories! I will be joining in too!!

I look forward to seeing your posts on the #TJournal !!

Have fun & enjoy!

A Message From Tom

Seeing some unexpected press over the weekend, I came to the conclusion that singing really is my best therapy. Music is so important to me—it’s my life, and through the brightest and darkest of times it has embedded a soundtrack to all my memories.

So, it means a huge amount to be able to continue to perform for such a loyal and giving audience; your support has been uplifting and doesn’t go unnoticed. See you all at the shows this Summer.

The Huffington Post - What I Learned From Sir Tom


Tonight (Saturday 16th April) on BBC TWO at 9pm, a very special BBC Music documentary will be broadcasted, Tom Jones' 1950's: The Decade That Made Me.

Sir Tom had a wonderful time filming this piece last year. He hopes you all enjoy it, and get a kick out of seeing how it was back then.


The director of the piece Chris Rodley has written a piece for The Huffington Post about the filming experience and what he learned from Sir Tom. Check it out below.

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It's very scary to be asked by the BBC Music TV department to direct a documentary with Sir Tom Jones. Not about him, you understand. That would be too easy. That's been done before. This was going to be made with him, but be about the 1950s - with Tom as a prism for the decade. So I'm already worrying 'How am I going to stop myself from encouraging Tom to talk mainly about himself and his unparalleled career and get him to talk to the world about him?' And 'How the hell am I going to stop him hi-jacking the camera'? Lenses love legends. They can't stop looking at them. They know a good face when they see it (or rather, see through it). Damn these clever-clogs BBC ideas. Why can't we just make a show about Sir Tom Jones? Not one with him, as our guide through a grey decade.

Before meeting Sir Tom, his son and manager, Mark Woodward, wanted to know - when it came to shooting - if I'd be able to forget that his dad is the legendary Tom Jones? And I'm thinking 'No. Can Tom?' Expectations were building and with them, my anxieties. Would I be able to discover Tommy Woodward, the 50s adolescent with an experience that was both particular to South Wales and yet representative of the decade and the country as a whole?

I've only felt truly threatened twice in my life - once in Downtown LA in 1988 when a stranger shouted at me "Hey Homes! Nice leather jacket." The second was when I walked into a pub in south Wales in 1974 and asked for a lager and lime. What was their greatest export going to think of me?

Luckily, I've had some good training. The first documentary I wrote in 1983 involved me interviewing the actor Patrick McGoohan - part panther, part tortured Irish Roman Catholic, part driven genius. Cigarettes got us through that one and I've given up. Then there was the film with Dirk Bogarde in 1992... Another trial by fire, but this time sweetened with bottle after bottle of chilled frascati, and a steady stream of unrepeatable stories, over a getting-to-know-you period prior to shooting lasting a year.

No such luxury here. We had to film in two weeks' time. We had access to Sir Tom for three or four days. So when the crew eventually gathered for the first day of shooting in the car park of the University of South Wales in Pontypridd, waiting for him to arrive, I really had no idea what might happen.

At the end of Orson Welles' movie Touch of Evil, Marlene Dietrich's Tanya says of the director's now dead Police Chief Quinlan, "What does it matter what you say about people? He was some kind of a man." That works just fine for me when it comes to Tom Jones. The crew and I laughed a lot over those few days. Tom would literally burst into life when talking about rock 'n' roll, and all the different kinds of music he loves. You can see it in the film. Suddenly he's on fire. He's a kid again, full of genuine wonder and unbridled passion. He can't help himself. And it's not just compelling because it's delivered in that glorious baritone voice; it's also compelling because of the geyser-like emphasis he puts on certain words as he goes. For instance, no one says "Tight" the way Tom does - the way it should always be said - through clenched teeth. It sounds sexier that way.

While filming on the street where Tom's sweetheart Linda lived as a child, and where they slept together as man and wife for the first time, we were spotted - first by a small, group of impossibly large young men (pictured with Tom above), and then by the man now living next door to Linda's family home. The young men wanted to know if Tom could get them a job on The Voice. The old man was clutching a framed photograph of himself and Tom together, taken in 1965 on Laura Street in Ponty. The young men just couldn't comprehend this. Did they even have cameras way back then?

Tom was at ease with all of them, maybe because he could have been any of them - if it hadn't been for that voice. He's absolutely representative, but not at all typical.

What Tom taught me is that it really is possible, if you have a singular talent and a huge amount of confidence, to go out and create the life you've imagined for yourself - even if that life is very different from the one you've been leading - and yet remain the warm, regular guy you were when you set off.

I have been thinking about Tom a lot this week. Our film has ended up going out in the week that he's lost his childhood sweetheart after 59 years of marriage, the woman who grew up where he grew up, who was as much a part of where he's from as Tom himself. That must be so hard. But I know that Tom and his family are very glad that Tom got to go back and explore the decade that made him and the place that he comes from late last year. When we took Tom to South Wales to explore his childhood and adolescence it was back before Christmas. Linda was still alive and there was no sense of loss to cloud how much Tom owes to her and to Ponty and the 50s. That debt is palpable in this film. That's why it was appropriate to dedicate the film to her memory.

Also, as it turned out, I needn't have worried about the 50s thing. Tom was intuitively on point throughout. As a director, he makes you feel like you're at the wheel of a Ferrari with 10 gears: everything is feasible, fun and fast.

Article written by Chris Rodley for The Huffington Post.

Article available here.


Sir Tom Jones’ wife of 59 years, Lady Melinda Rose Woodward, passed away Sunday morning, April 10, after a short but fierce battle with cancer. Surrounded by her husband and loved ones, she passed away peacefully at Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles.

Sir Tom and his family have asked for privacy at this difficult time and no further information is currently available.

Important Tour Announcement

Due to serious illness in his immediate family, Tom Jones has regretfully had to cancel the following dates.

Tuesday April 5th - Bangkok Convention Centre, Thailand

Thursday April 7th - Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre, Hong Kong

Saturday April 9th - Seoul Olympic Hall, Korea

Monday April 11th - Tokyo Hitomi Kinen Hall, Japan

Tuesday April 12th - Osaka Orix Theatre, Japan

Friday April 15th - Abu Dhabi Du Forum, United Arab Emirates

He extends his deepest apologies to both the organisers and the fans, who he is most sad to disappoint. Customers should contact original point of purchase for refund information.