Luka Bloom is nowadays like the poet Laureate of the west of Ireland if not indeed the Republic Of Ireland as a whole. Christy Moore’s brother got the songwriting skill in the genes and for decades has been troubadouring his reflections on life and Ireland and many other countries all around the globe. Yet, in recent years he has made his home in North West Clare and his work reflects his love for land and sea and all living things.
Bloom had been a friend of John O’Donohue before the mystical poets untimely death in 2008 and O’Donohue’s influence is very real which is a very good thing indeed.
The Old Oak Fell on the record is about the passing of another Irish poet Seamus Heaney. Bloom sings, perhaps to himself:
“I hope we’re digging deeper
Since the old oak fell.”
O’Donohue and Heaney’s love of earth and sea and sky are most evident on the meditation on life that is My Old Friend The Oak Tree and Who Will Heal The Land which is concerned that the earth is in danger:
“Embers are falling in Eden
The great burning time is on
Who will hear the dreaming
When all the wild birds are gone"
Bloom like Heaney certainly digs with his pen but his other tool is that trademark rhythmic guitar. To his own innovative playing he adds the improvisation of Steve Cooney’s too. Adam Shapiro's fiddle shines and Sligo’s Niamh Farrell’s voice is a beautiful revelation.
Though he name checks Bruach Na Haille, Gleninagh and then various places in the famine song The Hunger, don’t think that Bloom is confining himself to the west of Ireland. Mali and Palestine get songs as well and Bloom music seems influenced by such far away lands too.
In the end Bittersweet Crimson is about as one songs puts it, the beauty of everyday things. The song finds that beauty in a the blackbird’s song, a joke with the postman, a hurler playing like Christy Ring and diving into the sea. Everyday things. That’s what he said!
You won’t listen to Bittersweet Crimson on your favourite streaming sites or buy it there either. Bloom feels his financial investment deserves a better cut. It does, so go and seek it on Luka’s website. Old school in every positive kind of way.