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Luka Bloom: Before Sleep Comes

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Luka Bloom’s music has always had a dreamy quality. When you get right down to it, he’s a crooner, after all. But his new 28-minute CD is all dreamy, all the time.

Written in the throes of tendonitis, when he could manage nothing more than “very gentle picking on my Spanish guitar,” the CD plays like a waft of perfume, or the waving of a bed of flowers in a breeze. Its purpose, he writes in his liner notes, “is to help bring you closer to sleep, our sometimes elusive night-friend.” Such preciousness gives me the heebie-jeebies; fortunately I’m not reviewing liner notes. The music on this CD is a lovely listen, especially if sleep – or a peaceful mood – is your goal.

To match the gentleness of his guitar on these tracks, Bloom softens his trademark sexy baritone, singing (it seems) closer to the microphone than usual, with a very intimate effect. The harplike sound of the unfiltered guitar is especially effective in the instrumental covers of the traditionals “She Moved Through the Fair” and “Nora.”

His languid, slightly Donovan-like vocal delivery on these quiet recordings works as well on the traditional “The Water is Wide” – a favorite folk song of mine (for comparison, check out the much less sleepy version by Laura Wood) – as on the originals like “Camomile,” “She Sings Her Songs With Open Eyes,” and the title track. Now and then, as in the sung part of “I’ll Walk Beside You,” Bloom seems to be just going through the motions – or to be on the verge of falling asleep himself – but since the CD by its nature doesn’t actually have any momentum, momentum isn’t lost, the mood never spoiled.

If you’re new to this artist, this CD isn’t a good introduction, but it will probably be a must-buy for Luka Bloom fans. It will also please new-age fans and anyone looking for a good all-ages lullaby.

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About Jon Sobel

Jon Sobel is an Executive Editor of Blogcritics as well as lead editor of the Culture & Society section. As a writer he contributes most often to Culture, where he reviews NYC theater; he also covers interesting music releases. He writes the blog Park Odyssey, for which he is visiting and blogging every park in New York City—over a thousand of them. Through Oren Hope Marketing and Copywriting you can hire him to write or edit whatever marketing or journalistic materials your heart desires. By night he's a working musician: lead singer, songwriter, and bass player for Whisperado, a member of other bands as well, and a sideman.