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Album Review

Welsh baritone Aled Jones' recent output might not have made the same impact as his signature tune "Walking in the Air" or his hosting slot on Songs of Praise, but it has enabled him to receive the respect that eluded him for so many years. Hot on the heels of his Classical Brit Award nomination for his first Christmas album, he returns with his first non-seasonal studio album in four years, Forever, further stating the case that he's now in the prime of his 28-year career. There might not be anything entirely radical on offer here, but for a genre littered with predictable covers and lazy arrangements, it's a pleasant surprise that this time round, Jones has looked far beyond the usual easy listening standards. Alongside sweeping orchestral renditions of Peter Gabriel's "That'll Do," the late New York cabaret singer Nancy LaMott's "We Can Be Kind," and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang's "Hushabye Mountain," there are simple acoustic reworkings of tracks originally recorded by the Beatles ("I Will") and Chantal Kreviazuk ("Feels Like Home"), an emotive string-soaked duet with Beth Nielsen Chapman on a cover of Alison Krauss' bluegrass number "A Living Prayer," and the original title track (co-written by former Shakespeares Sister vocalist Marcella Detroit), which suggests Jones should showcase his songwriting skills more often, while even the more obvious material ("Bridge Over Troubled Water," "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face") are treated to a gentle jazz and dreamy hymnal makeover, respectively. But "Majesty" and "Footprints" mark the biggest change in Jones' usual repertoire, the former a Radio 2-friendly interpretation of Christian soft rockers Delirious?'s inspirational anthem and the latter a rather bombastic Spector-esque Wall of Sound treatment of the famous 19th century poem, both of which see Jones tackle a pop sound, and convincingly, for the first time in his career. A firmly established housewives' favorite, Jones could have quite easily played it safe and stuck to the familiar, which makes this slightly "outside the box" selection of lesser-known songs even more impressive. ~ Jon O'Brien, Rovi

Customer Reviews

A terrific Welsh voice

Aled's latest album has not only done very well critically and commercially, reaching no.9 in the alternative charts, but is an introduction to a new style of music from his previous albums. we saw a change in direction when he released his 'reason to Believe' album, moving into an alternative, easy listening style. This album follows that with more elements of acoustic music which really emphasises the complete control that he has over his voice, still as strong as ever. Of course the songs are beautiful, a blend of Delirious, Art Garfunkel, and Mcartney & Lennon. A must have for Aled fans and easy listening, alternative fans alike.


Born: 29 December 1970 in Bangor, Wales

Genre: Christian & Gospel

Years Active: '00s

Known as a vocalist who -- for the most part -- specialized in religious and inspirational works, Aled Jones (born December 29, 1970 in Bangor, Wales) was also a familiar voice on U.K. classical radio as well as a contestant on a ballroom dancing competition reality show. Signed to a recording contract before his teens, Jones was best known -- at least in the first part of his career -- for his version of "Walking in the Air" from the 1982 animated film The Snowman. Shortly thereafter, at the age...
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