Singer Tom Jones Belts Out Songs with a Miner's Spirit

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Headframe in Pontypridd photographed by Chris Aylward

Welsh singer Tom Jones is well-known for his powerful voice but less known for his connection to mining. His hometown is Treforest, Pontypridd, in South Wales”where the village Treforest once served as the main center of settlement.

The town of Pontypridd (“bridge by the earthen house) rose as a commercial hub, especially for coal and iron mining”with materials coming from the valley of Rhondda and the town of Merthyr Tydfil, respectively. Pontypridd was likewise the setting for a number of collieries. In an interview with CBS News, Jones admitted:

“My father was a coal miner, and both his brothers were coal miners. ¦ I would have been a coal miner, I would think, if I hadn’t had tuberculosis when I was 12. But my dream was always to be a professional singer. You know, I always had that, since I was a child.

The singer obeyed the doctors’ orders to not go down to the coal mine. Instead, his lungs dictated a different path for Jones. His most recent album, “Praise & Blame, consists of gospel and blues songs produced in a stripped-down manner.

Jones describes the songs on his album as strong and solid, much like his birthplace. For a music career that has endured since the mid-1960s, Jones rocks on by reconnecting to his roots, grounded in mining.

Nate Burgos

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