Wednesday, September 17, 2008

now playing: Luka Bloom: Tribe

Luka Bloom

“I love it when the moment of change comes/I love it when the road is clear,” Luka Bloom sings in a song called simply “Change.” That idea carries through from the opening track, “Tribe,” to the closing instrumental reflection on the landscape of Ireland, a tune called “Beara.”

Bloom has been making music professionally for nearly forty years, since he was fourteen and went on tour with his older brother, well known Irish singer Christy Moore. While living in the Europe and later the United States, he worked with the Hothouse Flowers, the Cowboy Junkies, and the Dixie Chicks, among others. Two of his songs, “City of Chicago,” and “You Couldn’t Have Come at a Better Time,” are regularly performed by Irish, folk, roots, and pop groups across the world, and several of his covers, including a take on Bob Marley’s “Natural Mystic,” have brought the music of other writers into the Irish and roots music world in fresh ways.

As Bloom's career evolved, love lost and found, issues of justice among people and nations, and the landscape of his native Ireland became constants in his work as a songwriter. He also developed a voice as a singer that’s at once inviting and instantly recognizable. All of that is present here. “Lebanon” is a song about war that is both blunt and enigmatic at the same time. “Tribe” invites the listener to join in a search for connection that reaches across borders and landscapes from, as Bloom says in the song, Pine Ridge to Alice Springs. “I Am a River” includes both love and landscape, “Homeless” is a biting bit of reflection on both self and society; “Dead of Night” is a vignette that has a bit of all these things in it.

For this recording, Bloom wrote lyrics inspired by fellow Irishman Simon O’Reilly’s music, the first time the two have worked together. It’s a group of songs thought provoking and open ended both in melody and lyric. if you like the work of blues man Chris Smither, folk singer Kristen Andreassan, or Irish American songwriter Cathie Ryan, give this one from Luka Bloom a listen. He doesn’t sound a bit like any of those musicians, to be sure, but if you like their ideas you’ll want to check out Luka Bloom's approach to music too.

you might also want to see

Music Road: reflections with Adrienne Young

Music Road: now playing: cathie ryan: the farthest wave

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posted by Kerry Dexter at


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