Luka Bloom’s love of his native Ireland in particular and the great outdoors in general – as well as his environmental concerns – pour out of every pore of the veteran troubadour in this his 22nd album. The title track is actually a poetic paean to pomegranates – ‘jewels of the earth’ – rather than as an expression of rancour. Whether he is grieving for an 800 year old fallen oak tree, lamenting plastic litter washed up on a pristine beach, or shedding tears over the devastating bushfires of the most recent Australian summer. Bloom retains the mellifluous and gentle delivery that has long been his stock-in-trade. A timely buffer between mellow Irish folk balladry comes in the unlikely shape of a jaunty song that expresses the artist’s admiration of the desert blues of Mali, where the guitar ‘flows so freely’. Steve Cooney’ exquisite guitar work enhances throughout a thoughtful and heartfelt set from a committed singer-songwriter.
Tony Hillier ***