Aled Jones will collaborate with Dame Judi Dench, Susan Boyle and Brian Blessed on his new album Blessings.
The singer’s 40th album was recorded remotely in studios around the world and touches on a range of faiths, including Quaker, Christian, Catholic, Muslim, Buddhism, through a range of hymns, texts and scriptures set to music.
Jones said: “It has really been a cathartic experience for me; I’ve also learnt that we are all so similar, we all share so much.
“The challenges of doing the recordings remotely in a way made everything more special.
“When we look back on these times, we will remember how we all came together, and achieved things we never thought we could.”
He duets with Dame Judi on How Can I Keep From Singing, which represents the Quaker faith.
The pair have been friends for over 25 years and are both involved in the charity Story of Christmas. Jones said: “I’m so thankful to Jude for being on my album. Hearing her iconic voice on the track sends shivers down my spine.
“When I mentioned the idea to her she loved it. It’s brilliant that she’s a part of this. It’s the icing on the cake for me.”
He worked with Boyle, a devout Catholic, on the Christian standard Bless This House. He said: “Over the years I’ve met Susan quite a few times and was thrilled when she agreed to sing with me.
“Who can forget when she charmed a nation with the Les Mis classic I Dreamed A Dream on Britain’s Got Talent? I knew this song would suit Susan and she didn’t disappoint. Her vocals are both touching and powerful.”
Jones also collaborated with D-Day veteran Harry Billinge, 94, after they first met on Songs Of Praise when the programme broadcast from Normandy.
They both feature on the track If I Can Help Somebody/Let There Be Peace On Earth, in which Jones duets with his younger self and Billinge speaks between both pieces.
Jones said: “Harry is a true inspiration for so many. Hearing him talk about loss, I could never forget his words. I really wanted to record the moment. The words ‘love is stronger than hate. I want people to remember because I can’t forget’. It’s a message of our time.”
The album also features Silent Night, a collaboration with Brian Blessed, Vespera with Libera, Irish Blessing with The Priests and Song Of Our Maker with Sami Yusuf as well as solo versions of Sunrise Sunset, Ave Maria, Welsh song Anfonaf Angel, Loving Kindess and Australian Blessing.
Jones has also compiled a book, Everyday Blessings, to accompany the album.
The book features blessings for every day of the year and will be published on 6th November.
It will be accompanied by a 25-date cathedral tour in 2021, kicking off at Paisley Abbey on 1st May.
The album will be released on BMG on 6th November.
Picture: Archive photo, dated 5/3/2020, of Aled Jones who will collaborate with Dame Judi Dench, Susan Boyle and Brian Blessed on his new album Blessings. (Scott Garfitt/PA).