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Wednesday, 23 October, 2002, 18:47 GMT 19:47 UK
Green grass of home draws Jones
Tom Jones
Tom Jones loves singing at sporting events

Tom Jones has said he would consider moving back to Wales after almost 30 years living in the States.

The singer, who was speaking ahead of the release of his new album Mr Jones, told BBC News Online he felt that he had never really left.

"Having a house in Los Angeles is just where the house is," said the Pontypridd-born star, who is still a UK passport holder.


I always feel a bit guilty when Catherine Zeta Jones talks to me and I can't converse with her in Welsh

Tom Jones

"I haven't become American, it is just more convenient for me living there, but I still carry Wales around with me," added the singer who deserted the south Wales Valleys for the US in 1974.

Jones also said he would be delighted to get the chance to sing at more international events, after he performed ahead of Wales' Five Nations victory over England at Wembley in 1999.

He said singing at sporting fixtures was the next best thing to pulling on the red jersey.

"When I sang when Wales played England, that was my contribution to the match.

"I think I can sing better than I can play rugby," he added.

But that does not mean he will sing at any old event.

"I have been asked in America to sing the American national anthem at sporting events," he said.

"But I told them 'I am not American'. They asked if it mattered - I said 'it matters to me'".

Learning lessons

Jones's latest album is a collaboration with Fugees star Wyclef Jean, but it is not just in the music world that he is trying out new things.

The singer has said he might start learning Welsh, partly so he can chat to fellow American exile Catherine Zeta Jones when the two meet up.

He feels that he should be able to speak the language, and said Richard Burton was the first to make him think about learning.

Tom Jones album
The album is out in November

"I always feel a bit guilty of the fact when Catherine talks to me and I can't converse with her in Welsh," he said.

And it is not just Zeta Jones who Jones is in touch with - he keeps a close eye on bands coming out of his home nation, and is impressed with what he sees.

"Cerys Matthews has a great voice. She could sing a lot of different things if she puts her mind to it."

And he praised the Stereophonics for their determination to carry on creating their own music, which he said was a change from when he was starting out.

"When I was growing up in Wales, there were only cover bands - there wasn't anyone coming up with original material," he said.

And after decades in the industry, Jones has now joined the ranks of the originators himself - he helped write nearly all the tracks on the new album.

Mr Jones will be released on 4 November. The first single to be taken from it, Tom Jones International, is out already.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Tom Jones
"I haven't really left. Having a house in Los Angeles is just where the house is"
BBC Wales' Lowri Pugh
"Tom Jones is back, revisiting his soul roots."

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