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.
2. First Light Of Spring
5. Miracle Cure
6. Peace On Earth
7. Gypsy Music
8. City Of Chicago
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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