The Basement Discs, Melbourne - CD Reviews - October 2008
Basement Discs recommend...
LUKA BLOOM - 'Eleven Songs'
With engineer (& ex FRAMES guitarist) DAVID ODLUM, Luka's aim
with this album was to make a more traditional style record:
that seemingly simple but increasingly expensive (compared
to the "laptop in the bedroom/home studio scenario")
formula of good/hopefully great songs; a great room to record in;
great musicians and singers on board; old microphones... the
intention and ambition to capture an honest performance.
In Luka's own words... "I don't mind admitting that the
template was the sound on the ALISON KRAUSS/ROBERT PLANT
record 'Raising Sand'." And I think we'd all agree that's a
very fine example to be aspiring to! Luka is and should be justifiably
proud of 'ELEVEN SONGS'. Whilst he probably didn't have
access to the kind of studio's Alison & Robert used... his
heart and talent is most certainly in the right place!
The Irish Times - The Ticket - CD Reviews Rock/Pop - Friday, October 10, 2008
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LUKA BLOOM - Eleven Songs
Big Sky Records
Luka Bloom's on his 12th album, and he's sizzling like a neophyte
who's just discovered the magic in a newly minted song. Languid
and unhurried, Eleven Songs continues on 2004's meditative Before
Sleep Comes. Sure, there are traces of Bloom's trademark percussive
guitar style and his political instinct on Fire, but the rest is a highly
personal journey: fingering stillness and, most of all, what it means
to live comfortably in one's own skin.
Acoustically, Bloom has created a space that serves his meditations
well. With Trevor Hutchinson's bass, Liam Ó Maonlaoí's
piano and Joe Csibi's string arrangements, this is a collection that doesn't
so much assault the senses as infiltrate them, lingering long after the
final note has sounded. A quietly triumphant return to his roots.
Belfast Telegraph - Music & Gigs - Reviews - Friday, 17 October 2008
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LUKA BLOOM - Eleven Songs
(Big Sky Records)
In a long career that has produced 12 albums, Luka Bloom has rarely
put a musical foot wrong.
The 53-year-old younger brother of legend Christy Moore is an
accomplished Irish folk singer-songwriter in his own right and is
known for inspiring lyrics and gorgeous melodies.
New album Eleven Songs is more of the same gentle material that
ebbs and flows wonderfully from track to track.
Best are Sunday and Eastbound Train.
Hot Press - Album Reviews - 24 October 2008
LUKA BLOOM - ELEVEN SONGS
(Big Sky Records)
Stalwart Troubadour makes exultant Dave Odlum-produced 12th Album
He remains a tireless live performer and a huge draw, especially across Europe,
but for aeons Luka Bloom has somehow seemed under-appreciated around
these parts. Perhaps it's down to over-familiarity or the fact that his no-nonsense
get-on-with-it work ethic in some senses plays down his importance. Either way,
it is time for a reappraisal.
Bloom is nothing if not consistent. This is his 12th solo album in a career that
stretches back over 30 years and he hasn't made a duff record yet. The good
news is that 11 Songs moves things forward very effectively. Recorded in Grouse
Lodge with Frames and Josh Ritter man Dave Odlum at the controls, it is warm
and sepia-toned, with deep, acoustic bass from Trevor Hutchison, piano courtesy
of Liam O'Maonlai and Bloom's trademark acoustic guitar strum. The predominant
theme is a spiritual one, encompassing love and loss: the crunch track is the
wonderfully optimistic 'Don't Be Afraid Of The Light That Shines Within You'.
Reminiscent of Astral Weeks-era, Van Morrison meets U2's 'I Still Haven't
Found What I'm Looking For', it boasts soaring strings and the massed voices
of Gardiner Street Gospel Choir - a superb synthesis. 'There Is A Time', a languid
rumination on loneliness, is another highlight, while he also takes time out to
give a lash to the Facebook/MySpace generation on 'Fire', on which he bemoans
the fact that the everyone is "coming down with gadgetry" and
spending their time "on-line, where nothing is real".
A more exotic, world-music style rhythmic backdrop frames the positive vibes
of 'I Love The World I'm In', a song which was inspired by one of his many
journeys to Australia, while the least adorned and most overtly spiritual song,
'Sunday' sums up the Bloom philosophy. All told Eleven Songs is an album that
reveals a superb craftsman working at the top of his game. Savour it.
Kilkenny Advertiser - 30 October 2008
Luka sings it like it is in Eleven Songs
We must have been very good this year indeed as Luka Bloom has released
yet another album, Eleven Songs, just about a year after his most recent
Eleven Songs does not disappoint and Lukaís powerful guitar and vocals once
again draw you in and keep you foot-tapping for the entire length of the album
which appropriately has eleven songs!
From an up-beat 'I'm on your side' right through to the slow and melodic 'I Hear
Her like Lorelei', Lukaís haunting tunes each tell a different story with every song.
His lyrics as ever are simple and the sound is sweet.
Liam O' Maonlai has obliged and played accompanying piano on several tracks
including 'I love the world I'm in' and 'Don't be afraid of the light that shines
within you'. He has also lended his dulcet vocals to 'Everyman' in which he sings
backing vocals with Aoife Tunney.
Luka is currently on a nationwide tour and is playing Vicar Street this Saturday
evening. Catch him if you can, however, it may be nicer to hold out for if he
comes to Cleeres in Kilkenny which is where you catch Luka at his absolute
best in a small an intimate setting. Luka Bloom isn't shy and he has always
stayed for a pint and chatted to fans after the show which is a great treat
for those who want to know more about his songs and lyrics. However, there
has been no Kilkenny date annouced as of yet. We wait - we wait patiently!
In the meantime, get your hands on a copy of Eleven Songs and familiarise
yourself with the newest offering.
dB Magazine - 26 Nov - 9 Dec 2008
Luka Bloom - Eleven Songs
After a few years of more experimental records and collaborations, Luka Bloom
has returned to a more traditional record with 'Eleven Songs'. Recorded mostly
live in only eight days, it's a warm, gracious record of Bloom's always wonderful
songs, produced by David Odlum (the original guitarist of Irish alt-rockers The
From the moment that There Is A Time emerges quietly from the speakers, you
know that Bloom is back to what he does best - gently caressed piano, tasteful
nylon strings and laid back drumming as his warm voice floats nicely over the top.
It sets a standard for the album which is maintained throughout, both in tone
and in palette.
Bloom's writing is much the same too - extremely literate love songs such as
I Hear Her, Like Lorelei and When Your Love Comes - though with Eleven Songs
he's starting to exhibit signs of either old age grumpiness or relevant social satire
when he sings a lyric like "everybody's online/ where nothing is real, big fucking
deal/ where's the fire now?" on Fire. However, his writing is so consistently
strong that you can easily forgive his seeming lack of progression and simply
bask in the fact that what he does, he does very well.
The palette here perfectly compliments the songs, with Bloom's nylon string
guitar ably backed with string arrangements and a gentle rhythm section. The
appearance of a gospel choir on three tracks, most notably the closing anthem
Don't Be Afraid Of The Light That Shines Within You, adds much to proceedings,
while guests occasionally pop in to add harps or clarinets. 'Eleven Songs' holds
few surprises for Bloom fans, but there is such a genuine joy and confidence
in these songs that they won't care.
Canberra City News - CD REVIEWS - 17 December, 2008
"Eleven Songs" Ė Luka Bloom
Irish singer-songwriter Luka Bloom has produced a moving new CD with
foot-tapping ditties as well as beautiful, heart-wrenching ballads. Highlights
include "I Love the World Iím In", "Fire" and the
"Donít be Afraid of the Light that Shines Within You". It's
stirring new music for his hardcore fans and will be a revelation to anyone
discovering his music for the first time.
Left of the Dial - Online Music Magazine - January 27, 2009
Luka Bloom - Eleven Songs
Bar None Records
One can't easily encapsulate Bloom's 30-year journey through music,
from his 1970's European outings to 1980's Georgetown and Greenwich
Village bookings to slim major label success in the 1990s to shifting
geography (back to Ireland) and current independent label crisscrossing.
Let's just say the guy has been there, done it, producing rather low key
folk rock with indie rock leanings that would sit well with people that press
their ears against John Wesley Harding, American Music Club, and Loudon
Wainwright. The spare and solitaire "There Is A Time" dissects the
notion of fighting from scurrying for survival ("we must fight for our lives")
to inner battles that we wage, with no one but ourselves to contend and
contest. In the end, he assures us, "love is the only way".
Following up, "I'm On Your Side" is lighter fare, a narrative infused
with a shimmering life-force as well, almost D.H. Lawrence-like, in
which he examines stultifying streets that crowd people. Yet, he can
see beyond the muddle and know that such prisoners of "glass and
stone" are really "warriors poets ancient and wise" people, to
whom he allies himself. He is the watcher, the voice in defense of imagination,
the bullhorn for stretching out and grabbing back our freedom. Did I
mention it's a toe-tapper as well? "I Hear Her, Like Lorelei" returns
to a subdued, even meditative stab at the tale of Lorelei the folkloric
betrayed woman that jumped to her death into deep water. Like a slow
eddying tide, the song returns to the refrain "I hear her I hear her",
which haunts the song just as the tale of the long dark haired maiden
haunted sailors. While that may seem a bit dour and saddening, the
world-beat "I Love The World I'm In" spins a far more positive vibe.
Bloom darts from a sense of satisfaction that comes from knowing
the truth of seasons (children will grow up and be strong, just as
the seasons replenish) to describing moon-draped nights when
breezes cool us down and cicadas buzz in trees as people perform
yoga by the shore. In all, it reminds me of Allen Ginsberg's line,
"This world's perfect, not the next."
Meanwhile, "Sunday" is bound by a sense of the sacred,
a place where little prayers and blackbird calls merge into consolation
and faith, ending in the strum of the guitar. "Fire" bemoans the
age of gadgetry that distances us from each other's stories, like the young
men with the angry music pummeling their ears. He imagines these
men as boxed in, incubated, cut-off. Instead of communities living
with the men's actual voices including screams, misery, and mayhem
we just live with their solitary stances their lives hidden behind a wall
of headphones. He decries this reality, a time when the fire in our
blood dissipates somewhere on-line, "where nothing is real".
This is a call to draw us back to a bright new flame. "See You
Soon" aches, in mellow tones, for the one he loves (but has to let go).
So, the question becomes, does the narrator have strength enough
to let go, to release lovers back into the world, hopefully with the
"riches from the times we knew"? The song maps out closure
and tries to work its way through weakness and woe, to a stronger place
of trust and knowledge, even satisfaction. The shuffling "Eastbound
Train" taps into all the steel wheel lore of the past, from "Mystery
Train" to "Downtown Train", though the direction has shifted
from 'go westward young man' (towards open spaces and imagined
freedoms) to the East. Packed with hope and dreams, the
landscapes whir by, life is imbued with "blues and pains", but
the motion itself seems to lure Bloom into a state of contentment,
almost as if "this is me moving, this is the sound of chance and
change, this is the sound of me seizing another mile and moment".
To end, he reminds listeners "Don't Be Afraid of the Light That
Shines Within You". Bloom consistently returns to the image/trope
of the "flame", born throughout the album's narratives. The
"dawn of springtime" is upon us, and we can dip our hands deep
into the well, plumbing the depths to spray our faces, nourish our hearts,
and find a light to push back the "dark winter space". The song
ameliorates winter conundrums gray, even dismal features of both
land and mind and lets listeners work towards rejuvenation, repair,
and resplendence. Even if we don't have faith in ourselves, Bloom
seems to. He reserves for himself this place in the world, to be
a person that assuages and anoints us with little worthwhile tasks,
helping us seize the day from under our feet and believe in the
passion that can let us loose into a new world of our own making.
Allgigs.co.uk - Album Reviews - 4 February 2009
Eleven Songs - Luka Bloom Album Review
Was Kevin Barry Moore...now Luka Bloom.
Younger brother of legendary Irish singer-songwriter Christy Moore,
Luka, taken from Suzanne Vega's song of the same name, was adopted to avoid
pressures of being related to his older bro. Bloom derives from compatriot
James Joyce's Ulysses.
His style is commonly known as electro-acoustic, with a finger-picking style
adopted early on in his career, but tendonitis forced him to be strummer
instead. He plays in the DADGAD tuning style through a bass amplifier,
giving it a warm and haunting timbre.
There's a huge roll-call of musicians on duty: 17, plus members of the
Gardiner Street Gospel Choir.
This rich and warm album is very engaging. Not only that, there's a
sincerity seldom heard in songwriting these days.
This has primarily been achieved by going for a more traditional 'live'
sound, a return to an earlier raw template, aided by (ex-The Frames -
ex-Kila/Josh Ritter) guitar wizard David Odlum engineering things. The
album takes 'artistic' cues from the simplicity of Robert Plant and Alison
Krauss' Raising Sand album, not that there are any direct musical
Lyrically, Bloom is bursting with inspiration, and there are plenty of
melodies to keep us all enthralled at his mastery songcraft. Over 30 years
he's remained consistently very good, so there's no change in terms of
quality songs which have kept him busy and appreciated in both America
Helping him on his way this time comes the second single Don't Be
Afraid...., an acoustic flourish, drenched in strings and sparkling piano
sojourns with more than a dash of Celtic roots prevailing, boosted by
sumptuous choral work by GSGC.
It is however, the stunning There Is A Time that rubber stamps his
intentions, while Luka wistfully rolls his Irish lilt. The uplifting and
reassuring I'm On Your Side swings gleefully with a belting hook, though
there's a lot of instrumental subtlety going on, with intermittent pedal
ghosting in the background.
This is segued by the tenderest offering on the CD, the drifting ballad I
Hear Her, Like Lorelei. Bloom almost hushes his way through which serves to
bring empathy to the piece. Then, what should be a UK single release
unfolds - I Love The World I'm In. Drums boom, the acoustic floats and
strings and piano loop into action.
At his most passionate, Fire thrusts to frenetic strumming, while See You
Soon makes a suitable accompaniment to I Love The World I'm In in tone and
flavour, with those magical strings leaning in part towards Damien Rice. For
purity of song and effect, Everyman reveals itself as the jewel in the
crown - this ballad is a truly magical song.
The verdict: Yummy.
Radio - Hear tracks soon on THE PLUG at www.wrexhamfm.com
Sonic Boomers - Bentley's Bandstand Album Reviews - 13 February 2009
When it comes to love, the Irish have it covered. They spend their time in
this world with broken hearts, torn asunder by famine and war and the
absolute knowledge that life will end with a finality no one can ever really
be ready for, no matter how many years are spent in the confessional or
at Mass. That said, love always arrives for the Irish because they sing with
full voice, their souls alive in the grace that finally arrives from knowing
we are here for a higher purpose, and finding that purpose is how we solve
this odd little puzzle called life. The Emerald Islers are used to hard work
and tough knocks, and too smart to ask for favors. They push forward and
learn to dig deep to discover the warmth buried within. It's why Irish music
is capable of causing king tears among even the strongest of listeners, and
defines a country's greatness with a soaring spirit.
Luka Bloom knows all about this. He's been making devastating albums of love
and pain for a long, long time, lately with little recognition in the United States - not
that that matters. Eleven Songs should change that, if there were any justice in
the music world, which isn't very likely right now. But, again, that's the
luck of the Irish, as they say, and Bloom isn't one to bother about such
inanities as commercial success. His voice portrays someone who has found
some big secrets somewhere near the bottom of the well, and the way he
brings them to the surface is a true gift. Love isn't perfect, and would be
boring if it were. But in the hands of Luka Bloom, love becomes real, an
inspiring feeling that takes us to a place to call home. The closing song,
"Don't Be Afraid of the Light That Shines Within You", just
might be the best Valentine's Day wish you receive this year.
Blogcritics Magazine - March 04, 2009
Music Review: Luka Bloom - Eleven Songs
A long-standing folk-rocker with a knack for alluring melodies and straight-faced
romantic lyricism, Irish singer/songwriter Luka Bloom has had a long career as
a musician - both under his current stage name and his birth name Barry Moore -
that goes all the way back to the late seventies.
Despite this durable career, the man isn't much known in the U.S., which isn't
surprising considering how much scant regard basic songwriting receives these
days. But for those lovers of hard-strummed "electro-acoustic" music and
honest singing, who perhaps came to Bloom with his early nineties releases
and lost track of him after he began following more ambient turns, the new
Eleven Songs (Bar/None Records) will be viewed as a happy return to folk-rock form.
Shifting from infectious country-folk shakers like "I'm on Your Side" and
"Eastbound Train" through Latin-tinged celebrations of the beauty of the
world ("I Love the World I'm In") and gospel admonitions to free your mind,
the soothing voiced Bloom deftly conveys a mood of warmth tinged with melancholy,
without readily succumbing to the boy/man posturing of so many male singers.
This is experienced music sung by a guy who isn't here to impress you with all
the roads he's traveled, but mainly wants to tell you about the things he's seen.
"There is a time we must sit with ourselves," he explains over a deftly
played Spanish guitar in the album's opener. "Let the breeze in, let the winds
The album has only one serious misstep: the hectoring "Fire", which uses
an admittedly addictive chorus to rant against 21st century techno alienation. Sorry,
Luka, but I'm writing this review for the Internet. Besides, Billy Joel ruined the
use of fire imagery in the service of protest songs twenty years ago.
The rest of Eleven Songs is hooky and welcoming: great music for those times
you wake up in the middle of the night feeling that unexplained sense of dread -
and want to listen to something that won't wake your significant other back in the
bedroom. Listening to "I Hear Her, Like Lorelei", I couldn't help thinking
of John Cale in one of his more subdued moments.
But disc finale "Don't Be Afraid of the Light that Shines Within You" is the
one you'll keep running through your head after you crawl back into bed.
An achingly beautiful inspirational track, it implores its listeners to "warm
our hearts and faces in the heat of the burning flame" (okay, I'll accept
that fire image) over backup by Dublin's Gardiner Street Gospel Choir.
In these grim times, we need all the buck-up music we can get...
CityBeat - University of Cincinnati - Wednesday, March 25,2009
Luka Bloom, Cursive, Oh No Not Stereo and Chris Cornell
...The march through March continues. As I suspected might eventually happen,
this week was so rife with new releases I was forced to push a couple titles to
next week to avoid being slammed this week. All things considered, not a bad
problem to have. Without any further ado, then...
If youíve been listening to acoustic music for the last 30 years or so and have
somehow managed to escape the charms of Luka Bloom, there is a serious
gap in your collection. As Irish as the Blarney Stone, Bloom doesnít play what
could be strictly classified as Celtic music, although it certainly contains
elements of the style. Bloom has always been more interested in the infinite
variety that is possible at the crossroads of two or more genres; Celtic, Folk,
Country, Pop, Gospel and anything else that presents itself. The end result
has always come out uniquely identifiable as Bloom because of his percussive
acoustic guitar style and his intensely personal songwriting.
For Bloomís eleventh album, Eleven Songs, the singer/songwriter wanted
to return to the spontaneous live feel of his earliest recordings. Inspired by the
visceral immediacy of Allison Krauss and Robert Plantís Raising Sand,
Bloom and former Frames guitarist David Odlum decided to record the
album with that same one-room, analog feel. It turned out to be the right
decision, as Eleven Songs shimmers with the kind of urgency and energy
that has marked some of Bloomís greatest works, particularly 1991ís
The Acoustic Motorbike.
And yet Eleven Songs is a much bigger album than Bloomís earlier output,
with a full band, choirs and big arrangements. As always, Bloom shines
when documenting the vagaries and triumphs of love, represented here
by the Country-tinged "Iím On Your Side", the Jazz-shaded
"When Your Love Comes" and the bittersweet Irish Folk farewell
of "See You Soon". Bloom revisits his rhythmically stunning guitar
style on "Fire", a song about the isolation inflicted on humanity by
technology ("Living in your headphones, can you hear your dreams?/Give
me some new ideas, let me hear your screams"), but all of Bloomís gifts
come together in the albumís anthemic and inspirational closer, "Donít Be
Afraid of the Light That Shines Within You" reminiscent of Van Morrisonís
emotionally uplifting contemporary hymns. If you havenít yet experienced the
wonder and beauty of Luka Bloom, thereís no wrong place to start and Eleven
Songs is as good as anything heís ever done, because theyíve all been his best.
Hybrid Magazine - Wednesday, March 25,2009
This record has been a long, long time coming. I can't recall anytime in his
history that Luka Bloom has released a record that felt like a "band" record.
Whether there have been drums and bass and other instruments on his previous records,
they've always felt like a solo record with backing musicians, if that makes any sense.
Eleven Songs has a more "band"-like feelingÖ an almost collaborative spirit
that adds an entirely new dimension to the music of Luka Bloom.
The songs remain unmistakably BloomÖ from the opening strums of the near-rocking
"There Is A Time" to the closing chords of "Don't Be Afraid Of The Light
That Shines Within You". And while there are tracks that approach rock, with drums
and bass in full force, the inimitable character that is Luka Bloom is never hidden.
The drums tend to take a nice rolling beat, with a light swing, perfectly complementing
the smooth guitars and occasional piano. "There Is A Time" is a beautiful tune,
with lounging piano, the aforementioned drums, and Luka's unmistakable vocalsÖ but with
the extra instruments it allows the man to stretch and play some very nice single note lines
on his guitar, revealing what some of us have known for ages; the man is a virtuoso.
Things really get rolling as the drums shuffle out an Americana beat on "I'm On
Your Side" as electric guitar slides stealthily around the background, thickening the
sound and adding the perfect amount of tensionÖ this track almost sounds like a Bob
Dylan track, which I believe is the first time I've ever been able to say that about Luka's
songs. The softer side of Bloom's sound is still extant, as evidenced on the visceral and
earthy "I Hear Her, Like Lorelei". It's a softly strummed number backed with
supple strings and piano backing the perfect melodies that only Luka seems to be able
There are two songs on Eleven Songs that were first heard recorded on last year's
The Man Is Alive DVD/CD set. The first is the amazing "See You Soon".
This is quite possibly the greatest song that Luka Bloom has ever penned, and most
definitely one of the most intimately powerful. In this fully recorded version it maintains
the same simple power that his solo acoustic performance contained, but the sound
is fleshed out lightly, creating a more powerful vehicle for the strength of the lyrics.
"I hope I love you enough to let you go/And loosen the hold you have on me"
is understatedly sung as Luka's amazing guitar playing is wonderfully offset with
hobbling drums and soft electric guitars. The second is album closer "Don't
Be Afraid Of The Light That Shines Within You" that Luka has been performing
for a couple of years. With a fully arranged band the song is even more anthemic
and dynamic; a song to truly enliven the human spirit, which is something that Luka
has always been very good at doing.
There is a treasure trove of other great songs on the record, and not a single one
is a sleeper. There are edgier songs and softer songs and songs that truly make
one wonder how a man who has seen as much as Luka Bloom has seen in his life
can hold such a great, lively spirit within his body. The man is alive, and his music
continues to get better and better. Check out Eleven Songs and rejoice in the living
with Luka Bloom.
Racket Magazine - CD Review - June 2nd, 2009
Luka Bloom - Eleven Songs
Big Sky Records
Irish singer/songwriter Luka Bloom personifies much more than just the generic
title of his album, 'Eleven Songs'. In fact, Bloomís music has uplifting lyrics and a
soothing voice that can garner new and old fans alike.
Fellow Irishmen music producer David Odlum collaborates with Bloom in this project
and their sensibilities in the studio compliment each other. For instance, the string
section in 'I Hear Her, like Lorelei', has a special kick and this incorporation provides
texture similar to what a special ingredient would do to a main course meal. Also,
it does not hurt that Bloomís voice is just as rich and sincere as the instruments
that accompany him. For instance, 'Sunday' demonstrates a certain softness
and excellent vocal control that highlights his range as a singer.
The cultural influences are subtle in such songs like, 'Iím on Your Side', with its
country-twang and 'I Love the World Iím In' mixes in a Latin flavor with its percussion
beat. An obvious difference between these two tracks is the appearance of his lilting
Irish accent in 'I Love the World Iím In'. Count on Bloom to acknowledge his European
roots and embrace authenticity as a performer.
Along with staying true to himself in front of a microphone, Bloom unapologetically
makes bold political statements in the emotionally-charged song, 'Fire'. He talks
about the war and state of society today. Progressive and socially-conscious music
still lives on and Bloom is part of this movement.
The stand-out track, 'When Your Love Comes', holds its ground from start to finish.
Clocking in at over six minutes, he manages to keep it simple, but have a striking
melody that includes a choir for a dramatic finish. Quite frankly, the Irishmen is the
consummate storyteller who plays attention to the smallest detail. For instance,
his voice projects with the storyís ambiance. All in all, the arrangement is so raw
The work that is put into 'Donít Be Afraid of the Light that Shines on You', is remarkable
because the song reaches out to the inspirational/Christian rock audience because of
its positive message. It is a pleasant way to end a project because the song is not limited
to just the violins playing and the choir singing in the background- it embodies hope and
the right amount of motivation that can encourage so many people.
Some might call it soft rock, but really it is aged wisdom from a veteran artist who
delivers sincere and relevant music that pulls no strings- except for maybe the ones
attached to the hearts of its listeners.
Fredericksburg.com - The Free Lance-Star - 12 June 2009
Luka Bloom weaves his eleventh album of folk
For more than 30 years, Irish folk singer Luka Bloom has been impressing listeners
with his distinctive vocals and guitar.
Bloom received early critical acclaim for his albums 'Riverside' (1990) and 'The Acoustic
Motorbike' (1991). He has continued this trend up through his recently released
11th solo album, cleverly titled 'Eleven Songs'.
The album begins with 'There Is a Time', which suggests that there is a time for
everything. It opens with a brief piano solo by Paul Smith and goes into steady
vocals by Bloom with piano, percussion and strings backing him up.
All the songs on the album feature Bloom on his electro-acoustic guitar and background
percussion, but many are also brought to life through the accompaniment of violins
and violas, such as those in 'I Hear Her, Like Lorelei', which tells the story of a man
reminiscing about a lost love.
Although songs such as 'I Hear Her, Like Lorelei' and 'Fire', which is about the
loss of ideas in a world where technology diverts attention, are mournful in tone,
the album is optimistic and hopeful overall.
This is shown in songs such as 'I Love the World I'm In', which features an
impressive, upbeat percussion/guitar duet.
The final song on the album is 'Don't Be Afraid of the Light That Shines Within You'.
Bloom is accompanied by a gospel choir, which adds to the already incredibly
The lyrics are about a festival in Bloom's hometown in which the beginning of spring
is celebrated, and they also express Bloom's own hopes for the future.
Bloom keeps 'Eleven Songs' upbeat and interesting throughout with primarily
acoustic instrumentation, steady rhythms and storytelling on each track.
The Red Alert - Album Reviews - June 2009
Luka Bloom - Eleven Songs
Luka Bloom seems comfortable and confident in the type of music he wants to make.
Nothing too loud or overbearing, nothing too glossy or over produced. Just simple ballads
centered around vocals and guitar. 'There is a Time' opens the album, which could just
as easily be an anti-war song as a love ballad. These kind of dualistic lyrics are not easy
to come by or create.
'Iím on Your Side', picks up the mood slightly with a bright and cheery underpinning, but
this is quickly undone by the melancholy sounds of 'I Hear Her Like Lorelei'. These kind
of ebbs and peaks are the staple of Luka Bloomís Eleven Songs, keeping the listener on
their toes, for although the style of music stays more else less constant throughout the
album, the mood varies like the temperature moves with the seasons. Just a few
degrees of change can have a massive effect on the outcome.
'I Love the World Iím In', offers one of the more interesting percussion tracks, getting
into a steady groove that allows the instruments to meddle around with a bit more free
form interplay than on previous or subsequent tracks. All of the scattered instruments
align for 'Sunday' which falls back into familiar territory, but emerges as perhaps on
of the more enchanting tunes on the album.
'Fire' gives Luka Bloom a chance to rock out as much as his acoustic guitar will let him,
with a simple rhythm and redundant lyrics. The song does manage to be one of the hotter
tracks and so is appropriately named, as it sounds the most radio friendly, despite itís one
time use of another four letter f-word. 'When Your Love Comes', offers the calmness to
put out the previous fire, with chilling piano that haunts the track.
The remaining tracks pulse with the same calmness and confident vocals as their
predecessors. Not one to take many risks, Luka Bloom has delivered a consistent
album that offers a solid musical experience. It wonít take you to places yet undiscovered,
but it will allow you to enjoy what has been set before you. Why would you expect anything
but an album that is straight and to the point from a man who named his record after the
number of tracks it holds?