On Dreams in America, revered Irish singer/songwriter Luka Bloom looks back on his career in an interesting way—he devotes the album to creating vibrant new versions of songs of some of his most notable songs, re-interpreting them to suit the modern day Luka Bloom and the way he now hears them. The result is a refreshing 15-track storytelling opus that highlights two Bloom strengths: his affecting vocals and the immediately identifiable guitar style he’s made his own since the late 1970’s.
From the breathless narrative of “The Acoustic Motorbike,” a blend of stream-of-consciousness beat poetry, rap-like momentum and an urgent guitar strum, to the title track, a poignant ballad of love and distance, Bloom makes it clear that these songs aren’t just part of his history, they’re very much a part of his present as well. A few live, band-accompanied tracks are thrown in for good measure, including the folky “Sunny Sailor Boy,” (with the audience singing along), and “Love Is a Monsoon,” a pulsing ode full of rich imagery. Ironically, the one new song in the collection is the album’s oldest song—Bloom’s version of the traditional folk ballad “Lord Franklin,” to which he lends an almost impressionistic feel.
In the end, Dreams in America shows Luka Bloom to have a history that’s worth celebrating.
“That he scales such emotional heights with just his voice, a guitar and a bagful of heartfelt songs makes Bloom’s achievements even more remarkable.” —Hot Press (Ireland)
“The soulful folk artist has chosen a range of songs from his back catalogue and turned them on their heads, creating a strictly solo-acoustic new batch of beauties.” —Rhythms Magazine (Australia)