Luka Bloom

Holy Ground [Single]

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AllMusic Review by

Luka Bloom's "Holy Ground" is unabashedly sentimental, and "holy ground" references have become an Irish music cliché, but it's hard to resist the song's buoyantly sunny charm. It's a song about the joy of making music, written by an artist who has always had trouble containing his. When Bloom confides that he loves "the sound of the bodhran kickin' in behind me" as Jimmy Higgins' bodhran (a traditional Irish drum) does just that, it's impossible to begrudge the singer's effusive claim to be "a happy man in the world." Who says all great artists are miserable? But as much fun as "Holy Ground" is, it's not surprising that it did not end up being the most popular track on the CD. Columbia originally released the single only on a promotional basis, but when European radio stations were flooded with requests for the B-side's "I'm a Bogman," the label decided to make the CD available commercially. The song, a lively Irish rap extolling the virtues of life in rural Ireland, ranks among Bloom's best work. It features a guest vocal performance by Bloom's brother and fellow bogman, Irish music legend Christy Moore, as well as an outstanding folk arrangement featuring two guitars, bodhran, fiddle, and a little "mouth music," which is essentially Irish scat. Blending rap and traditional Celtic folk is one of Bloom's trademark songwriting techniques. He's tried it before with success on songs like "The Acoustic Motorbike," "Trains," "Holding Back the River," and the LL Cool J cover "I Need Love." This, however, might be his most satisfying attempt. It percolates with the love for music that "Holy Ground" is all about.