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Luka Bloom
Cooking Vinyl

When something happens that threatens to end your musical career, it leaves the soul questioning life's purpose. But when you struggle through that hard time, recording one of your finest and most tender records in the meantime, and then make a full recovery, there is only one thing to do: celebrate! Luka Bloom seems to be celebrating his re-emergence to full health on his newest record, Innocence. All the doubts and introspection on last year's Before Sleep Comes have come full circle to end in a brilliant commemoration of life and rebirth on Innocence.

"Primavera" begins the album with an eloquent foreshadowing of the themes to come, which rolls nicely into the lilting softness of "First Light Of Spring". These two songs set the tone for the entire album, building on the tender benevolence of the songs on Before Sleep Comes and fleshing out the ideas of a wondrous resurrection of the world from the sleep of winter. By the time "Innocence" begins, there is a low, mellow mood already built that makes the soul wholly receptive for the insidious splendor of Luka's lyrical genius. "I remember the taste/ of the first kiss by the river/ and the promises we'd keep/ forever and ever… and I choose innocence/ after my tears…" "June" is another fine example of the rebirth theme that weaves its way throughout this album with such a delicate and deliberate feel, bringing to light the true feeling of joy that Luka seems to have found in his ability to once more play music as he'd like. And dig the groovy Van Morrison-esque feel that the song gives off - an instant classic.

Alternately, Innocence is interspersed with some darker and more pressing themes, as well. "No Matter Where You Go, There You Are" deals with the story of a man outcast from his own land and how he finally comes to find some happiness in the sorrow of a foreign land and its music. "Miracle Cure" finds the songwriter entreating the world to step back and realize the most direct path to happiness and peace is simply forgiving those that trespass against us. Luka has finally found time to record his classic "City Of Chicago" on Innocence. After many years of hearing Christy Moore playing the song, it is a simple joy to hear it from the mouth of the man who wrote it. And the highly personally political "I Am Not At War" makes a strong statement that the world's leaders would be well advised to stop and think about themselves.

But ultimately, everything comes back to the simple happiness that Luka obviously finds in music and the world around him. And nowhere is this displayed more prominently than on the amazingly complex "Gypsy Music". There is a wondrous amount of joy that inexplicably fills the yearning of Luka's voice and his rhythmic guitar strumming. But the apex of Innocence's beauty lies in the amazing depth of the wonderful "Thank You For Bringing Me Here". This song, possibly more than any other of his career, accurately captures Luka's ability to flesh out a simple observation into one of his most heartrending and magnificent songs. The lyrics have an almost sing-songy feel, but a depth and power that belie their simple pronouncement.

Innocence is far more than simply a ray of hope and celebratory joy in the life of Luka Bloom. This brilliant collection of songs transcends all of his earlier works, and simply lays out for the world why Luka is truly one of the world's finest songwriters, now or ever.

-David DeVoe

Track Listing:
1. Primavera
2. First Light Of Spring
3. Innocence
4. Venus
5. Miracle Cure
6. Peace On Earth
7. Gypsy Music
8. City Of Chicago
9. June
10. Salvador
11. No Matter Where You Go, There You Are
12. Thank You For Bringing Me Here
13. Larry Redican's Bow
14. Doing The Best I Can
15. I Am Not At War

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