Luka Bloom - Album Review

Big Sky Records


As a child, who didn't love being snuggled in bed with a loved one to sing you to sleep? The delicious feeling of hanging on the cusp of sleep until the music carried you over. As adults, we now have a champion of insomniacs everywhere in Luka Bloom and his latest release, 'Before Sleep Comes'. While most performers would be offended if someone fell asleep listening to their music, Bloom expects you to!

Before Sleep Comes At nine cuts and around 30 minutes it is perfectly constructed to carry the listener on a liquid journey of melody and vocals to sweet, sweet dreamland. In fact, there really should be a disclaimer, warning listeners NOT to play this CD while operating a vehicle or any sort of machinery. Luka conceived of this project while recovering from a bout of tendonitis. Restricted to playing gently on his Spanish guitar, he found he really enjoyed this style of playing (or non-playing, as he puts it). As he says in the liner notes, "I began to play ballads and soon found myself singing and writing whispery songs."

Over the course of a couple of late nights at The Old Mill near Naas, in County Kildare, Bloom, quietly and superbly, put together the tracks for this recording. A combination of tunes, original songs and familiar ballads, the entire project glows like the embers of a warm turf fire on a bitter winter night. In fact, my only complaint was, that on three successive nights of trying to listen to the CD, I was dead asleep by the third cut. Luka said that is precisely how he envisioned it working, and boy, does it!

The resonant guitar, gliding melodies and Luka's languid vocals combine to instill a warm, gentle trance-like state. He includes traditional ballads such as 'The Water is Wide', 'Nora' and a velvety instrumental of 'She Moved Through the Fair'. Original work is highlighted by the title track, 'Before Sleep Comes'. A soothing balm to any psyche, it perfectly portrays that moment of total peace and calm before sleep comes. It is further enhanced by very subliminal bird calls underneath the track.

        "There's a moment of surrender
        just before sleep comes
        I turn over my life's business
        to the God of the setting sun
        Sweet, sweet dreams..."

I defy anyone to make it past this track unless in a vertical position by light of day!

'Be Still Now' is almost Zen-like in the message and word-pictures created by Bloom.

        "...I watched the heron watching me
        and thought I heard him say
        just be still now, wait a while
        and let life come to you
        just be still now, all your dreams
        are on the breezes passing through..."

Another original piece, 'Camomile', invokes the sleepy warmth of waiting by the stove, warming up a cup of camomile tea while the stars glow in the night sky. Bloom has a talent for creating scenes of life we have all shared, without becoming smarmy or overdone. His ear for melody has created an intimate, unselfconscious gift of music and song that is unique and utterly irresistible.

With lovely, understated mastering by Brian Masterson, this gem of a CD may be the answer to sleepless nights for all music lovers. Available only through Luka Bloom's website:


Sweet, sweet, dreams.

--- Cindy Reich

Celtic Connection, Denver, Colorado
April 2004

Cindy Reich is a contributing writer for 'Irish Music Magazine', Dublin, Ireland,
'The Living Tradition' magazine, Ayrshire, Scotland and is the host of
'The Long Acre' music show on KRFC 88.9 F.M., Fort Collins, Colorado.

© Rena Bergholz - Luka Bloom Page