Luka Bloom - Album Reviews
Luka Bloom - This New Morning
This New Morning The Irish Times
Hot Press Magazine
Red Dirt Report
Readings Carlton, Australia
Good Sound
Irish America Magazine
Vulgo.ie
Rhythms - Australia's Roots Music Magazine

The Irish Times - Music: Album Reviews - Friday, 1 June 2012

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LUKA BLOOM - This New Morning

Big Sky Records

With each successive album, Luka Bloom digs deeper and gazes wider. This New Morning is a series of discrete episodes, some of them recounting seminal moments, and others attempting to capture those more elusive ones that flit in and out of consciousness. Here, lyrics are crucial, fingering subjects as disparate as Queen Elizabeth’s wreath-laying athe Garden of Remembrance, Japanese stoicism in the face of natural disaster, economic servitude and the unadulterated joy of river swimming and cycling. Spare, attentive production accommodates vocals from Rita Connolly and Iarla Ó Lionáird, guitar from Steve Cooney, bodhrán and vocals from Dónal Lunny, banjo and mandolin from Dirk Powell, and surprisingly lush orchestration. Bloom is at his reflective best here: unforced and at times, characteristically playful. Only Your Little Wings falters beneath the weight of its own ambitions. Otherwise he is on top form.

SIOBHÁN LONG
www.irishtimes.com/culture/music/album-reviews/luka-bloom-1.1063268

HotPress - Music Review/Album: 19 June 2012

Album review: LUKA BLOOM - This New Morning

Kildare troubadour returns with a strong collection

He’s been gigging since 1969, when as a 14-year-old he supported his brother Christy Moore on a tour of UK folk clubs! Since then Luka Bloom, aka Barry Moore, has crossed many a musical bridge, lived on several continents and changed his name along the way. His latest album finds him in familiar mode, singing the kind of rousing anthems and tender ballads that have made him a huge live draw, particularly on mainland Europe.

The sound is pared down and intimate, his distinctive voice, along with some lovely string arrangements, adding texture on many of the tunes. ‘A Seed Was Sown’ is inspired by the visit of Queen Elizabeth II and her historic appearance at the Garden of Remembrance: "She laid her wreath with dignity and grace / An eloquent silence and softness in her face."

Elsewhere, he blends the kind of pastoral, evocative imagery that recalls Nick Drake’s best work on songs like ‘Heartman’ and ‘Riverdays’. Meanwhile, environmental causes which have never been far from his heart are also explored, particularly on the poignant ‘Gaman’ (meaning "enduring the unendurable" in Japanese), in which he describes the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster: "The radiation and wave that came, revealed a beauty, with a simple name."

Helping him out on this strong collection of songs are some of the cream of Irish folk musicians and singers, including Eimer Quinn, Iarla O’Lionard, Steve Cooney and Conor Byrne among others, with lovely orchestral arrangements by Joe Csibi.

COLM O'HARE
www.hotpress.com/Luka-Bloom/music/reviews/albums/This-New-Morning/8986996.html<

Red Dirt Report - 16 August 2012

CD REVIEW: 'This New Morning' by Luka Bloom
(BigSky Records)

...With his latest album, This New Morning, Bloom sounds as confident and creative as ever.

While the arrangements on a number of the songs are full and band-like, Bloom kicks things off with 'How Am I To Be?', a song that would fit in well with his Greenwich Village coffeehouse and Dublin roots.

In 2011, when Queen Elizabeth II visited the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin and bowed before a monument remembering fallen Irish heroes, Bloom was not only inspired, he was full of hope that old wounds were beginning to heal and thusly, he wrote and recorded 'A Seed Was Sown'.

There is a decidedly melancholy feel to 'Capture a Dream' and an urgency to 'The Race Runs Me', which has an almost flamenco feel to it. Bloom gets assistance from guitarist Steve Cooney on this one and a number of other songs on this record, including the dream-like 'Riverdays', which is enhanced with traditional Irish folk instrumentation and light orchestral flourishes.

Bloom addresses an environmental issue on 'Across the Breeze'. However, it’s not what you think. Burning peat is being banned in Ireland and with it will come an end to a tradition that has been around for centuries on the Emerald Isle. Bloom’s take is from more of a call for taking tradition into account.

In the tradition of fellow socially-conscious folkie Bruce Cockburn, Bloom addresses the destructive and radioactive horror that struck Japan and specifically the Fukushima prefecture. The song, 'Gaman', which is Japanese for "endusing the unendurable", is a modern-day story that is still ongoing, as I write this. It is a haunting track, complete with flute and bells and makes one think of those still suffering from the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami, a year-and-a-half later.

Some songs highlight Bloom’s lyrics and delivery. I point to the anti-suicide track 'You Survive' and the line "So this new morning / Trust in your heart / And know that your life / Is your great work of art."

Armed only with his voice and a fiddle for accompaniment, Bloom’s 'Your Little Wings' will bring tears to your eyes and he sings of the young women who wander in his hometown on a late Friday night after boozing and smoking and drunk out of their minds. He worries about these young women, saying that if he could protect the m from the world, he would. It’s a raw and heartfelt track.

Reminding me of John Denver or Gordon Lightfoot, Bloom takes a decidedly upbeat and chillbump-inducing turn on the exquisite 'Heart Man'.

Sings Bloom on 'Heart Man': "I know a man whose religion / Is just to give / It’s how he learns to live / Walking with the poor / He’s on solid ground / For sure"

It’s not only the strongest track on This New Morning, it’s arguably one of the best songs of 2012.

One of the last songs is . If there was ever a song that promoted bicycling for fun and health, this joyful song is it. "Poetry in motion", indeed!

This New Morning is the sort of album that gives me new hope that real, honest, raw and beautiful music will endure. Thank you, Luka Bloom.

ANDREW W. GRIFFIN
Review Extract from Red Dirt Report (Copyright 2012)
www.reddirtreport.com/rustys-music/cd-review-new-morning-luka-bloom

Readings Carlton, Australia - Album Reviews - 2 Oct 2012

This New Morning by Luka Bloom

It’s been a while for Irish singer-songwriter Luka Bloom, but over the last few years he’s been doing some deep thinking. This varied collection features a richer, fuller guitar sound and songs about both the GFC and the recent nuclear crisis, as well as memories from Bloom’s rural childhood and an Irish/English reconciliation song. If all that sounds a little too heavy, there’s also a magnificent partly spoken word tune called ‘The Ride’, which is a joyous rumination on the pleasures of clearing the mind and cycling through the Irish countryside.

PAUL BARR
www.readings.com.au/review/this-new-morning-by-luka-bloom

Good Sound - Album Reviews - 15 Dec 2012

Luka Bloom - This New Morning

Luka Bloom was born Kevin Barry Moore in Newbridge, County Kildare, Ireland, in 1955, and took his stage name after moving to the US in 1987. "Luka" was supposedly chosen for Suzanne Vega’s song of that title, while "Bloom" stems from the main character of James Joyce’s magnum opus, Ulysses. The folksy singer-songwriter has but a hint of his native accent in This New Morning, and it is an easy record in which to become immersed.

While many contemporary singer-songwriters sound alike to me, I found Luka Bloom’s latest album more rewarding than most. Though it’s easy on the ears when played as background or ambient music, close attention reveals Bloom’s singing to be quite refined, and his lyrics to be substantive and significant, in contrast to the trite lyrics peddled by many aspiring singer-songwriters. Twenty- and thirty something angst is nowhere to be heard, as Bloom’s 57 years of wisdom shine through with an almost resigned quality.

'Heart Man' is my toe-tapping favorite of these 14 original compositions, and a perfect example of the genre-straddling style that Bloom adopts. Strumming guitars underlie Bloom’s cultured vocals as he croons "A wise man once told me / give a little thanks to all your enemies / they teach me / how to let go / how to be free / how to find the better side of me." A harmonica flits in the background, to add a dash of folk to what is otherwise a casual indie-rock song.

As light and playful as 'Heart Man' is, 'Capture a Dream' follows up with a more ruminative tone, giving the album greater dimensionality. A flute purrs in and out of a tune largely propelled by a number of violins, Bloom’s clean singing, and his ever-present guitar. The sound quality is commendable, if not quite as grain-free and effortless as the best recordings these days. At the same time, Bloom’s singing is terrific, and the sound quality is more than good enough to let his talent be heard.

That talent lies not only in Bloom’s voice, but in his lyrics as well. In 'A Seed Was Sown' he touches on Queen Elizabeth II’s visit to Ireland, the first in her 60 years on the throne. He sings of the tsunami that devastated Japan in March 2011 in 'Gaman<', a slow, somber track in which Bloom’s rich voice delves into the destruction at Fukushima. Gaman, Japanese for patience or perseverance, is an appropriate word for this album. What first sounded to me like a simple singer-songwriter with an accent yielded many dividends over subsequent hearings. While the overall sound quality leads to an experience that is a touch soft and kind, it is emblematic of Bloom’s musical perspective, one marked by decades of accrued knowledge, of both the musical and life variety. This New Morning offers listeners quite a musical odyssey, and aptly lives up to Bloom’s namesake.

HANS WETZEL
www.goodsound.com/index.php/music-and-movie-reviews/featured-releases/416-luka-bloom-this-new-morning

Irish America Magazine - Music Reviews - April / May 2013

LUKA BLOOM - THIS NEW MORNING

It is no secret that Ireland boasts some of the most potent singer-songwriters of modern music. Joining the ranks is Luka Bloom. Bloom has made a career in Ireland with his heartstring-tugging original songs and original interpretations of folk classics. This new record is pleasantly understated, a collection of stories told through song with gentleness and joy. It’s a challenge not to smile throughout This New Morning. Bloom departs his standard just-a-guitar-and-mic approach to welcome legends of the Irish folk scene, among them Glen Hansard, Iarla O Lionaird, Steve Cooney and Rita Connolly.

This New Morning is a subdued record. Bloom is a rare master of the vocal whisper; he values the quietness of a song, so often foolishly overlooked by singer-songwriters who seek power constantly. 'A Seed Was Sown' is a perfect example of this skill. Bloom is joined by legend Rita Connolly whose ethereal harmonies take this sweet track to an emotional peak. Bloom finds a way to take his indie folk music and give it just a hint of Celtic flavor, enough to make it distinctly Irish without alienating non-trad fans. 'Capture a Dream' combines a beautiful Irish flute with a Spanish-influenced guitar and Bloom’s quiet storytelling to make a mesmerizing track. And of course, it wouldn’t be folk without some toe-tappers. 'The Race Runs Me' and 'Heart Man' are the highlights of the upbeat tracks which manage to move you with minimal instrumentation. This New Morning is a real accomplishment and could very well be Bloom’s final tool to cracking the American market.

TARA DOUGHERTY, Music Editor
irishamerica.com/2013/03/music-reviews-15

Vulgo.ie - Music Reviews

"Blooming Great": Luka Bloom’s THIS NEW MORNING

This New Morning is a treasure: beautifully sung, played and produced. It’s blooming great.

DAVE KENNY
www.vulgo.ie

Rhythms - Australia's Roots Music Magazine - Music Reviews

LUKA BLOOM - THIS NEW MORNING

The singer-songwriter’s love for his native land and the great outdoors pours out of every word and every note in This New Morning.

TONY HILLIER
rhythms.com.au


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