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It’s hard to believe that the one time Barry Moore has been recording and touring for over 40 years now. But the still fresh-faced Luka Bloom clearly relishes the process of making music. His latest album is the kind of record we’ve come to expect from the Newbridge troubadour – thought-provoking acoustic songs sung with heart and soul – only better. It’s exquisitely produced and arranged too, with a small team of musicians, including Cork’s Bill Shanley.
Many of the songs are inspired by Bloom’s recent move to County Clare, including the dark midwinter sentiments of ‘January Blues’ – a gentle, keening ballad sung over a soft shuffle. ‘Give It A Go’ takes a wry look at his attempts at surfing in late middle-age, while elsewhere, ‘Australia’ is a lovely homage to the country Bloom often describes as his second home.
Tragedy and innocence are the respective themes of ‘Lowland Brothers’ – inspired by the young Irishmen who fought in WW1 – and ‘Isabelle’, about a young girl playing in the fields of Flanders oblivious to the horrors of war. One of the most poignant and heartfelt songs is ‘Berkeley Lullaby’, about the tragic deaths of six young Irish students in the Northern Californian town last year. Elsewhere, a song Bloom wrote in 1972, ‘Wave Up To The Shore’ (once recorded by his brother, Christy Moore), is a further highlight of this excellent collection. A must listen for fans of great Irish music – and one for Irish radio to play…