Luka Bloom - Media Information
LUKA BLOOM - Riverside
Luka Bloom arrived in Washington D.C. from his native Ireland two years ago with
a guitar and a clear sense of purpose. "I made a conscious decision before I went to
America to create a solo performance that would be exciting and relevant to rock audiences.
I also decided that I was going to create an audience for myself, without the help of record
companies." Trawling the city's clubs for a suitable venues, he was ultimately offered
a series of weekend gigs. He took Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday instead, and so set
about drawin an audience who came out because they came out to see him.
Over the last few years this single-minded determination to get himself noticed on his own terms has
reaped considerable rewards. Already established as a live act on the East coast, his reputation as a
visceral performer has won him support slots and rave responses on tours with acts like The Pogues,
Sineád O'Connor, Hothouse Flowers, The Violent Femmes and The Proclaimers. He
was also asked to sing backup vocals on The Indigo Girls' single "Closer To Fine".
All very impressive for an unsigned artist.
Luka was signed by Reprise Records in the summer of 1989. No demo tape was ever given
to the label - his signing was arranged solely on the strength of his live performances. As he comments,
"If I had ever given a tape to anyone they would only have said, 'Yes, we love it, but how about
adding a fretless bass here or something else there.' Anyone who wanted to sign me had to see my
performance so as to understand where I was coming from and just where I was going to. They had
first to understand the whole picture."
That whole picture is one that has already had made more than a little impact on those who have
caught Luka Bloom live:
"... (he) did the nearly impossible: held sway over a rowdy, rocking crowd for close 45 minutes
with just an acoustic guitar and his voice, singing well-crafted songs about Picasso, passion, Chile, and
delirium with a warm, beautiful voice and some fine guitar playing ..."
San Francisco Calendar
"Luka Bloom hoots like a steam engine, laughs like a madam, spits out the lyrics and strums acoustic
guitar with the ferocity of a speeding locomotive."
"His recent show, like U2's gigs at My Father's Place or Tracy Chapman's tour with 10,000 Maniacs,
are likely to be remembered as a chance to see a star in the making: clearly gifted, but still virtually unheard of.
Like those singers - and most of the best ones, from Dylan to Morrison to Elvis Costello - Luka Bloom sounds
both familiar and strikingly original."
East Coast Rocker
"He does everything I wanted to do with the guitar."
Terry Woods, guitarist/The Pogues
"He was the only person I spoke to," says Bloom, "who not only understood, but was genuinely
excited about the very direct way I have of presenting acoustic-based music to a contemporary audience. He
also wanted, like me, to retain the rawness of it all, and not drown it in overdubs. I was anxious that the record
should never turn out a watered down, sertilized shadow of my live performance."
That live performance, and the record itself, are perhaps most notable for the unnerving band-like quality they
possess. Luka Bloom is an acoustic rock singer with a sound that seems bigger than one mean and his guitar.
As Ireland's Hot Press commented, "For one man and an instrument, he extracts more sounds and nuances
than seem humanly possible."
"In a way my approach shouldn't be seen as all that surprising though," concludes Bloom.
"Twenty-five or so years ago artists like Dylan, Donovan and Richie Havens were seen very much
in tandem with major bands of the day like the Stones, The Beatles and The Byrds. If since then there
has been a polarization between solo artists and groups, that doesn't mean that, they can't sometimes
retain the same relevance to each other. That, I think, is part of what I'm trying to achieve."