Lime Wire Music Blog - Album Reviews - Friday, 30 March 2010
Luka Bloom – ‘Dreams In America’
(V2 Records Benelux)
Irish singer/songwriter Luka Bloom looks back on his career in an unusual
way on Dreams In America. Instead of revisiting the finest moments from
his two-decades-plus catalog in a run-of-the-mill anthology of old album cuts,
he decided to devote Dreams In America to creating vibrant new versions of
songs from his previous releases. In a strictly solo-acoustic format, Bloom
breathes new life into a batch of previously recorded songs. From the
breathless narrative of 'The Acoustic Motorbike', which blends
stream-of-consciousness beat poetry with rap-like momentum over
an urgent strum, to the title track, a poignant ballad of love and distance,
he makes it clear that these songs aren’t just part of his history. They’re
very much a part of his present as well. There are a few live,
band-accompanied tracks thrown in for good measure, including
the folky 'Sunny Sailor Boy', which gets Bloom’s audience singing
along, and 'Love Is a Monsoon', a pulsing tune full of rich imagery.
The one new song here is ironically the album's oldest song - it's Bloom's
version of the traditional folk ballad 'Lord Franklin', to which he lends an
almost impressionistic feel. In the end, Dreams In America shows
Luka Bloom to have a history that’s worth celebrating.
HotPress - Issue 06 - 31 March 2010
DREAMS IN AMERICA
[Big Sky Records]
Irish Troubadour brings it all back home.
Over the past twenty years, few performers have turned out such consistently
mesmerising music as Luka Bloom. His literate songs are invariably imbued
with observations of what goes on under the skin of human behavior, and he
can turn in a catchy tune too. But for this album, Bloom has pressed the pause
button. He’s retreated to his living room to cast an uncharacteristically nostalgic
look over his shoulder by re-recording and revitalizing a selection of songs
from his illustrious past. Although not intended as a "best of",
Dreams In America contains such gems from his back pages as the
plaintive ‘Ciara’, the sublime ‘See You Soon’ and a deliciously delicate
version of ‘Black Is the Colour’. The title track has a drone effect that gives
it a hypnotic eastern tinge. On ‘The Acoustic Motorbike’ and ‘Bridge of Sorrow’,
Bloom slips into the hypnotic folk-rap style he made his own, and with ‘Love
Is A Place I Dream Of’ he evokes the pathos of Leonard Cohen. The one
new track is a straight version of ‘Lord Franklin’ in honour of Micheál
O’Dómhnaill, and there are bonus live tracks, most notably a sparkling
‘Sunny Sailor Boy’. That he scales such emotional heights with just his
voice, a guitar and a bagful of heartfelt songs makes Bloom’s achievements
even more remarkable.
Rating: 4 / 5
The Irish Times - The Ticket - CD Reviews Rock/Pop - Friday, April 2, 2010
* * * *
LUKA BLOOM - Dreams in America
Big Sky Records
Pressing the pause button is not, by his own admission, something
Luka Bloom normally does, and this retrospective, 20 years after his
breakthrough ( Riverside ), is no sepia-tinted collection. Its broad sweep
offers snapshots of Bloom's music in all its varied shades.
His trademark propulsive guitar still distinguishes Bloom on the title
track and The Acoustic Motorbike , but it's the more subtle string
picking that stands out, acting as a foil to a genteel cover of Lord
Franklin and on the beautifully restrained See You Soon.
A closing trio of songs, recorded with members of the National
Concert Orchestra, is a revelation though. I Hear Her, Like Lorelei
takes on an entirely new hue, understated yet insinuating. Somehow
the space between the notes has become just as important as the
notes themselves. See lukabloom.com
Download tracks: I Hear Her, Like Lorelei, Lord Franklin
Readings Carlton - Album Reviews - Wednesday, 28 April 2010
LUKA BLOOM - DREAMS IN AMERICA
Not your run-of-the-mill record company compilation, Dreams in America
showcases songs from Bloom’s 20-plus years as a solo performer,
going back to early favourites like 'The Acoustic Motorbike'.
Bloom, a dynamic live performer, has chosen to revisit these tunes
in live solo acoustic and full band recordings. An underrated guitarist,
Bloom’s use of open-tuned strings gives a sonic boost to the songs.
Bloom’s roots in the Irish traditional scene are acknowledged with
versions of 'Black is the Colour' and an unreleased cover of the
classic old ballad 'Lord Franklin'.
PAUL BARR, Readings Carlton
The Age - CD Reviews - Wednesday, May 05, 2010
* * * *
Luka Bloom - Dreams in America
Big Sky Records/Shock
Perennially in brother Christy Moore's shadow, Luka Bloom shows on this
collection that the past two decades - since changing his name and leaving
Ireland for the US - have been time well spent. An unconventional greatest
hits package, 12 studio classics have been redone in an intimate solo-acoustic
format. The oft-covered Black is the Colour could well be Bloom's own, while
Love is a Place I Dream Of loses little of its magic, even with Sinead O'Connor's
absence. Bloom's clean guitar strums, masculine Irish brogue and twinkling
tales of love, landscape and reminiscence sustain the listener throughout.
Three live tracks, including the lovely, violin-backed I hear Her Like Lorelei
and Sunny Sailor Boy, cap an enduring journey.
Key Track: Folk ballad Lord Franklin sounds beautiful anew.
db Magazine - CD Reviews - Saturday, May 08, 2010
Dreams In America
BigSky Records/Shock Entertainment
Irish singer/songwriter and all around nice guy Luka Bloom is those one of those
artists you always feel conflicted over - you want him to get the success he deserves
and become huge, but you also want to keep him all to yourself. He's also someone
who is somewhat allergic to nostalgia; in a career spanning more than 20 years, he's
always pushed forever forward, never looking back.
Which brings us to 'Dreams In America', which is not a best of compilation. Rather,
it is a series of re-recordings of songs from Bloom's last 10 records, and one new
song, an arrangement of the traditional Lord Franklin (and mighty pretty it is too).
The template here has been to strip every song back to its bones, with most of the
tracks being simply Bloom and his trusty nylon string guitar.
While initially you might find yourself missing the lush orchestration of earlier recordings,
after a few tracks it becomes clear that this is the best way to experience Bloom.
Somehow, at their most basic these songs manage to become even more intimate,
even more personal, despite (or perhaps because) Bloom has performed them
hundreds, if not thousands of times since their release.
Thus we have the achingly beautiful See You Soon and the gorgeous Love Is A
Place I Dream Of, both raw and wonderfully melodic. Elsewhere, the uplifting Cold
Comfort and the delicate arrangement of traditional tune Black Is The Colour
showcase both Bloom's eclecticism and his intricate, criminally underrated guitar
playing. The collection is rounded out with three live recordings, including a version
of I Hear Her, Like Lorelei with a string section which could well stop your heart
with its beauty.
If you love Bloom, this collection will reaffirm your suspicions of the man's genius,
and if you're unfamiliar with him, I could think of no better place to start than this
utterly charming recording.
Rhythms Magazine - Australia's Roots Music Monthly - June 2010
DREAMS IN AMERICA
Revered Irish singer songwriter and Christy Moore's younger brother Luka
Bloom presents a record of old songs via a new format on his latest cut,
Dreams In America. The soulful folk artist has chosen a range of songs from
his back catalogue and turned them on their heads, creating a strictly
solo-acoustic new batch of beauties.
Completely revamping the tunes, ranging from the poetic rap of 'The Acoustic
Motorbike', 'Love Is A Monsoon' (presented live), 'Sunny Sailor Boy' (also
live with crowd involvement) and 'Ciara', all songs have been re-interpreted
to suit the modern day Luka Bloom and the way he now hears them. The result
is a soothing 15-track storytelling opus that highlights the two Bloom
strengths; his affecting, warm vocals and the fingerpicking style he's made
his own since the late 1970's.
The re-energised 'Cold Comfort' from 1994 record Turf finds Bloom singing
the number in a more dulcet manner and live tracks such as 'I Hear Her, Like
Lorelei' from last year's Eleven Songs, follow the same path. Bloom's
conversational style is interspersed with sweeping strings and his trademark
Spanish guitar flourishes, coupled with gentle percussive brushstrokes.
Dreams In America demonstrates Bloom's dedication to his craft above all.
Not simply content to allow the songs of the past to be passed through
untouched, he still finds ways to improve their quality, 'Black Is The
Colour' from'94's Turf being case in point. Bloom using the more streamlined
Spanish guitar feel over the scratchy and tinny steel-strung electric
acoustics of days gone by to paint a whole different picture here. Luka
Bloom not only looks back on Dreams In America, he looks deep into the
Nova Magazine - Australia's Holistic Journal - CD Reviews - June 2010
Dreams In America
Dreams In America is a cracking title for a Luka Bloom album for, despite his Irish brogue,
there's always a sense of the homesick Irish immigrant in the songs he writes.
Revisiting a selection of killer stage staples such as The Acoustic Motorbike, and some
unexpected album tracks, Bloom presents a retrospective of his work by performing them
again with some imaginative but subtle enhancements.
His unique vocal style - warm folk tones that are stretched ever so slightly into unlikely pitches
and places (note the way he warbles the word "dreams" on the title track) - is a
simple lesson in precision of delivery as he illustrates normality's intriguing, and occasionally
With a lengthy career that has seen him tour and record with consistent success, he
appears to pay scant regard to changes in the music world.
Apart from his stream of consciousness rapping on the melodramatic Bridge Of Sorrow
his style is that of the wandering troubadour. The storyteller with an uncanny knack for
touching on the essence of humanity and its quest for warmth and comfort.
Dreams In America is a veritable treasure trove of memorable pleasures that deserves
nothing but unconditional recommendation.
Enjoy it, then investigate further.