Bryan Power walked into a bar and fell in love with LUKA, but Jam Jams sealed the deal.
I don’t know Luke Kuplowsky personally, but from talking on the phone the man behind the musical project LUKA seems lovely. The sort of man you could take back to nan’s for a cup of tea and a few Jam Jams. He might just love it if you did.
Running out of the iconic thumbprint style cookie n’ jam sandwich, I discover, had the Toronto resident and singer-songwriter concerned about where to get his hands on his next batch.
Enter townie cultural polymath Bryan Power. In Toronto for a jaunt, Power says“I walked into the Monarch to see some buds and catch the later show, but when I walked in the place was completely silent. Loads of people in a bar, but no noise coming from any of them. I’d describe LUKA’s sound soothing and mesmerizing. I immediately became soothed and mesmerized and wondered if I could convince him to come to Lawnya Vawnya to mesmerize and soothe the audience. This must be how cults start”.
Between Power’s intriguing offer and the Jam Jam conundrum, Luke agreed.
LUKA is a songwriting project that Luke began in 2013, which he describes as intimate folk, also acknowledging jazz, pop, and funk elements as we chat. I agree, but what about the the doo-wap feel underlying so many songs?
Or the Spanish guitar influence, or the sweet/eerie back up vocals on some tracks that bring to mind the Twin peaks soundtrack, or the mournful country guitar work, clean and precise as any Grand Ol’ Opry house band members’ understated strums?
This music is rich, subtle, and exquisite. If LUKA’s songs were a food they would straddle a line somewhere between fresh cream and high end vanilla cheesecake. Though as somber as it is searching, the music’s intentions feel pure.
If you can get past the need for ‘sock you in the face’ gimmicks and outlandish hooks and just listen, LUKA will leave your soul full but your heart wanting more. No filler, every note and sigh is exactly where it should be. Songs start off with the folk feels of Joni Mitchell but veer into a relaxed Ritchie Valens territory with such ease you don’t notice till it’s already happened.
“The lyrical personality is the heart of the project”, Luke informs me, so I ask him to tell me a bit more about what that personality is.
“Sincere, humorous and often disarming” he responds, and goes on to tell me that placing that voice in different contexts and using different types of sounds is intrinsic to the projects sound.
The live atmosphere is dynamic, going from extremes of loud and soft. It’s hard to imagine LUKA incorporating noise elements from the recordings I’ve heard thus far, but I look forward to experiencing it at Rocket Bakery tonight (Friday May 12th) as part of Lawnya Vawnya 7. Steve Maloney will also be playing, along with a reading by Carmella Grey-Cosgrove .
Doors open at 7:30, show starts at 8.Quality night b’ys. Now get the man some Jam Jams.