Luka Bloom Before Sleep Comes
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- Released: September 21, 2004
- Label: Bar/None Records
- 1.My Singing Bird
- 2.Before Sleep Comes
- 3.She Moved Through the Fair
- 4.I'll Walk Beside You
- 6.Be Still Now
- 8.The Water Is Wide
- 9.She Sings Her Songs With Open Eyes
Personnel: Luka Bloom (vocals, Spanish guitar).
Audio Mixer: Brian Masterson.
Liner Note Author: Luka Bloom.
Recording information: The Old Mill, Naas, County Kildare, Ireland (10/2003).
Arranger: Luka Bloom.
Those seeking a new installment from the fiery guitar and passionate voice of Irish guitarist, singer, and songwriter Luka Bloom will be astonished to encounter Before Sleep Comes. This is a nine-song, 27-minute collection of tunes recorded for the express purpose of capturing the moments just before sleep comes, and perhaps enhancing its arrival. According to his liner notes, Bloom came upon these soft, whispery songs while being afflicted with a particularly nasty bout of tendinitis. Having given up the road for a period to recover, he picked up a nylon-stringed Spanish guitar and began working out songs by gently fingerpicking them so as not to aggravate his condition. Then he began singing lyrics in a soft, halting manner to accompany the melodies he'd written, realizing before long he had come up with a selection of material that stood is sharp contrast to the rest of his catalog and needed to document it. Recorded late at night while tired with a sole engineer, Before Sleep Comes is a small cache of original and cover tunes that meander gently, without insistence toward the point of stillness. There is just enough in these melodies and harmonics to hold on to -- nothing extra -- and the tunes themselves are of a piece. There is no place in them, in this space where the ethereal edge of consciousness moves between two worlds, to truly differentiate from one another, for one to stand out any more than another. That said, these are beautiful pieces, all of them. Stunning really for their restraint, their slippery grace and elegance. His reading of the traditional "She Moved Through the Fair" comes off as a vivid dream, and there are bird sounds recorded naturally from the early morning. "Be Still Now" is a lullaby that could have been written hundreds of years ago for all of its minor key, near medieval modality. Likewise, his readings of other traditional songs such as "My Singing Bird" and "Nora" are timeless as well. Only his moving version of "The Water Is Wide" rises from the ether to greet the gray light of dawn. Its quiet dignity and spacious, unhurried simplicity is almost unsettling. This will be an anomaly in Bloom's catalog to be sure, and may be misunderstood. But taken on its own terms, this small recording is a tiny gem that offers plenty for anyone willing to accept it on its own terms. ~ Thom Jurek
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