So this Friday is the day……
Luka Bloom’s new album ‘Head & Heart’ to be released on Planet May 2nd
Bloom’s song choices are interesting and at times inspired (his reading of Ewan MacColl’s The Joy of Living is just that: a joy)…. His guitar lines breathe fresh life into covers of John Martyn’s Head and Heart and the Keith Jarrett-inspired choice,My Wild Irish Rose. Siobhan Long / Irish Times
With artists like Luka, for whom music is as fundamental as a heart beat, there can be no surprise that an album as fully realised as Head & Heart has come along so soon after 2012’s superb This New Morning. Luka explains that it has been an irresistible transition.
“After This New Morning’s release, and inspired by Jarrett’s approach, I found myself learning, re-learning and writing a whole raft of similar songs, and really enjoying it. But there was a problem: it would have been just so easy for me to take the material into familiar surroundings and record the songs with familiar arrangements and no risks. Something told me to be patient, that some of the songs needed something more.”
“Then one day I met my friend Paul G. Smyth outside Tower Records in Dublin. Paul is a great piano player. We got to talking about the songs and the seed was sown for piano involvement in the project. I sent Paul the songs. He voiced his approval and interest, but with typical magnanimity insisted I actually needed to work with the Phil Ware trio.”
The Phil Ware Trio – Phil on piano, Dave Redmond on double bass, Kevin Brady on drums – appealed to Luka immediately, not least considering the connection with Jarrett, and he contacted them.
“This was new territory for me,” admits Luka. “I wanted to create a landscape for the songs which would enhance them but also somehow expose them in a very naked way. So came about the mad idea to just meet with the lads for the first time in the studio and instantly record with no rehearsal. Just feel the songs; play them, serve them, record them and release them.” Luka admits that recording live and unrehearsed with unfamiliar musicians was a “terrifying” but a “fantastic” experience, “utterly rewarding”.
Six of the tracks on the record come from those two days in the studio with the Phil Ware Trio, including two new ones by Luka. Of the other six songs on the record, five are solo – many of which, like ‘Danny Boy’ and Ewan McColl’s ‘The Joy of Living’ might be seen as “standards”, songs that Luka’s fans will be eager to hear how he puts his own inimitable stamp on them. And the sixth? “Well,” Luka continues the story, “we had decided ‘My Wild Irish Rose’ would be best with just piano, vocal and guitar, and booked the studio for another day. On the day, Phil was ill and couldn’t come in. Brian Masterson and myself were in the studio in Wicklow wondering what to do when in came Paul Wade, piano-tuner for Phil. As he was tuning and playing away, I commented to Brian that he was a pretty tasty player. ‘Hey Paul’, says I, ‘Have you ever been recorded?’ ‘Nope’, says Paul. ‘Would you like to be?’ says I. ‘OK,’ says Paul.”
Head or heart? Head and heart!
1 HEAD AND HEART (John Martyn; Warlock Music, 3.26)
2 BANKS OF THE LEE (trad; arr Luka Bloom, 4.13)
3 EVERY GRAIN OF SAND (Bob Dylan; Special Rider Music, 4.14)
4 THE FIRST TIME EVER I SAW YOUR FACE (Ewan MacColl; Bicycle Music, 3.17)
5 GIVE YOU WINGS (Luka Bloom; IMRO Ireland / MCPS / Luka Bloom Music, 5.02)
6 GENTLE ON MY MIND (John Hartford; Acuff-Rose Music, 3.57)
7 MY WILD IRISH ROSE (Alcott; arr Luka Bloom, 4.14)
8 LONESOME ROBIN (Bob Coltman; Collegium Music, 4.12)
9 AND I LOVE YOU SO (Don McClean; Songs of Universal / Benny Bird Co. Inc, 4.13)
10 LIFFEYSIDE (Luka Bloom; IMRO Ireland / MCPS / Luka Bloom Music, 3.51)
11 DANNY BOY (Weatherly; arr Luka Bloom, 3.17)
12 THE JOY OF LIVING (Ewan MacColl; Bicycle Music, 4.16)
Stem Music / The Planet Company www.theplanetcompany.com