The Graham Weekly Album Review #1178
Luka Bloom: Salty Heaven
The popularity of and interest in Celtic music shows no signs of abating. The revival of traditional music
through popular productions like Riverdance and various movie soundtracks, has given rise to a
lively musical scene with artists going in different ways - some staying traditional while others
mix Celtic influences with everything from new age to punk. This has inspired lot of performers
from Ireland to incorporate some traditional stylistic elements into their sound, regardless of
This week we have the latest CD by an Irish artist who since he began his recording career
and came over to this side of the Atlantic, has made conscious effort not to be identified as
a Celtic musician, while at the same time, making no attempt to hide his Irish roots:
Luka Bloom. His album, his first in five years, is called 'Salty Heaven' ...
The Irish Times - The Records: Album of the Week - 24 July 1998
Luka Bloom: Salty Heaven
There is a brace of nameless hungers at the soul of this album. Beating addiction, a brother's depression,
the death of a mother, the loss of home, the rape of this planet, all these things, and more. Who knows?
Only Luka Bloom, if even he does. But from the achingly reflective opening song
'Blackberry Time' through relatively inconsequential tracks like 'Ciara' to
the epic, famine-based closing tune, 'Forgiveness', this album will either
seduce the hell out of you and take you to, yeah, a tearful heaven or leave you cold.
Depends on whether or not you are open to art that is quiet and caressing, rather
than screaming to be heard. Not just a wonderful album but an album filled with
wonder. And that is a real accomplishment.
Celtic Connection - www.celtic-connection.com
Luka Bloom Scores With New Release
Over the years, Irish singer Luka Bloom has always maintained complete control of
his music in the recording studio. In a recent interview in Irish Music magazine,
he divulged that much has changed with the recent release of 'Salty Heaven'.
A producer was hired to transform the CD, and it is probably his best undertaking yet.
Describing his metamorphosis, Bloom said, "I really allowed someone else's
creative vision to be exercised in the studio, which was a unique and positive
experience. When you write songs, it can be difficult to allow someone else's vision
to come to play with the songs. I can be a bit possessive and it's the first record I
have allowed my voice to come through."
During 1995, Bloom spent months writing most of the songs for Salty Heaven in a town
called Birr, in the centre of Ireland. It's always a joy when any artist produces a body
of work with such depth and substance.
Each song is beautifully put together. From the lyrical, 'Water Ballerina', the
upbeat rhythm of 'Holy Ground', to the haunting, poignant sounds and lyrics of
'Forgiveness', a song about the Famine, Bloom's gift as a songwriter,
guitarist and singer comes eloquently through. Produced by Sony Music,
'Salty Heaven' is Luka Bloom's fourth album. I highly recommend it.
Luka Bloom: Salty Heaven
...His latest album, 'Salty Heaven', features lush arrangements that accentuate
his passionate vocals. Bloom recently stopped by the NetCafe to discuss his new
record and his return to America...
Monique Montibon - NetCafe Editor
...Highly recommended album by Luka Bloom especially for the last track
'Forgiveness' which is about immigrants leaving Ireland for Canada
during the great famine. Play it once and it will stick in your head for weeks.
The Gumbo Pages/"Down Home" - Best Albums Of 1999
LUKA BLOOM - Salty Heaven
...They say that good things come to those who wait, and a good thing came of this album. Not a weak song on it; in
fact, it's a grand set of music by an artist who's stronger than ever, both within and without. The strong songwriting
reaches its pinnace on this record with what is perhaps Luka's magnum opus, a hair-raising, emotionally powerful song
called 'Forgiveness', which should be the anthem of the
peace and reconciliation movements in the north of Ireland. As strong as the songs and performances are on the
record, as ever Luka is best seen in concert, just himself and his guitars (Rudy and Nora). Don't miss him.
The California Aggie Online - 5 April 2000
Artist: Luka Bloom
Album: Salty Heaven
Label: Shanachie Records
The songs of this album are touched at the edges by the rolling green hills, lonely stone walls
and rough history of Ireland. To make "Salty Heaven", Luka Bloom, who had
renamed and recreated himself from the struggling singer/guitarist Barry Moore upon his
emigration to America, returned to "the belly" of his home country. There, in a
small town called Birr in central Ireland, Bloom wrote all but one of the tracks on this album.
On its road to production, the work went from inside the cottage walls and along the banks
of the river Camcor to a retrofitted mill - the Liffey Arts Center in County Kildare - through
Dublin and all the way down to Abbey Road, where it was polished.
The album's production quality, however, doesn't take away from its honest, earthy sound.
A man of two worlds, Luka has managed to fuse good drumbeats with raw acoustic talent.
'Salty Heaven' has an undercurrent of Irish influence balanced with lyrics that span
a spectrum from romantic to extolling natural beauty, to a poignant look at Irish history on
All of Bloom's songs, even 'Forgiveness', which deals with the "horrors that
have come to pass" in the Irish famine and 'Rainbow Warrior', which
calls for an end to nuclear testing in Polynesia, end with a musical and vocal optimism
for future prosperity and harmony.
Peaceful Irish flutes weave between an undulating beat on 'The Shape of Love to Come'
where Bloom reminds people who "Are leaving God's houses / Looking for footprints in the
sand" to "light the fire in ourselves" and "find the circles around the land."
'Blackberry Time' is a sweet medley of the endless freshness of love, tied to the autumn
blackberry season and 'Cool Breeze', a tribute to the late Altan flautist Frankie Kennedy,
is full of images of the green isle. Only 'Hungry Ghost' may disappoint with unoriginality,
but most songs deal freshly with un-sung topics like the uplifting 'Don't Be So Hard On Yourself',
which serves as a musical embrace in a low mood.
Advised for fans of the Indigo Girls, Bloom should appeal to folk, blues and world music
lovers alike. A new musician on the scene, Bloom has already visited Davis with a show
at the Palms Public Playhouse in late March. If this album is any indication of his live shows,
a return concert is not to be missed.
Beth Rose Middleton