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.
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.
Red Dirt Report - 16 August 2012
CD REVIEW: 'This New Morning' by Luka Bloom
...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
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
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
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)
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.