Upon its release, the album received mostly mixed reviews from music critics. The Soul Sessions Vol. 2 debuted at number six on the UK Albums Chart, while charting within the top ten in the United States and select countries in continental Europe.
The Soul Sessions Vol. 2 was recorded over two live recording sessions in New York City and Nashville. The album is a joint release between Stone's own independent label Stone'd Records and S-Curve Records, the label that released her first two studio albums, The Soul Sessions (2003) and Mind Body & Soul. Stone stated, "I really had fun revisiting The Soul Sessions ' idea and I'm really pleased with the results. I've committed long term to my label Stone'd Records, but it felt right to team up with Steve Greenberg and S-Curve again for this release. I think there are some great songs on the album and I loved performing them with such brilliant musicians."
On 6 June 2012, Stone performed a concert at the London music venue Under the Bridge, which was streamed online via Perez Hilton's website in the United States and MSN for the rest of the world. During the concert Stone, performed several new tracks from the album as well as previous material. Stone also performed for Billboard 's Tastemakers series in June 2012. Stone performed and was interviewed on the British television programme This Morning. On 27 July 2012, she performed on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
The Soul Sessions Vol. 2 received generally mixed reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted mean rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 60, based on 11 reviews.Mojo magazine said it "sounds like a calculated genre exercise", while Kyle Anderson of Entertainment Weekly found the covers "passionately pointless" when compared to the originals.Slant Magazine's Jonathan Keefe said the album sounds commonplace because of its attempt to recreate "a vintage R&B vibe rather than looking to classic styles as a source of inspiration for something more contemporary or creative". Hermione Hoby of The Observer wrote that Stone's singing is "technically irreproachable throughout, [but] every track is attacked with all the timidity of a tsunami—enough to prompt the peevish complaint that force and feeling are not the same thing."Jody Rosen, writing in Rolling Stone, was more critical and felt Stone's "musical instincts are off ... she steamrolls nearly every song with her bombastic blues growl."
In a more enthusiastic review for AllMusic, critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine believed "for the most part, The Soul Sessions, Vol. 2 does feel right: it has the form and sound of classic soul while never acknowledging that R&B continued to develop past, say, 1972. For an audience that agrees with that thesis, this is fun."The Guardian 's Dave Simpson described the album as "a powerful, heartfelt and classy comeback", claiming that Stone has "certainly returned to her debut's soul covers format in more mature and superb voice." Hal Horowitz of American Songwriter called the album "pretty terrific" as it "proves the UK singer is serious about her classic American R&B". John Aizlewood of BBC Music viewed The Soul Sessions Vol. 2 as "Stone's most focused and rewarding album since Vol 1".
The Soul Sessions Vol. 2 debuted at number six on the UK Albums Chart with 8,414 copies sold in its first week, Stone's first top ten album in the United Kingdom since Mind Body & Soul (2004). In the United States, the album debuted at number ten on the Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 24,000 copies, becoming her fourth top ten album on the chart. In continental Europe, it reached the top five in the Netherlands and Switzerland, and the top ten in Austria and Germany.