This review written by Kevin McCarthy, 3/03
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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There is one song on this release, "Pay The Toll," that will stop you in your tracks, force your attention and probably result in a tap or two on the "replay" button.
It opens with six short verses culled from Dave Mallett's evocative song, "Arthur," and then bridges to the oblique, grandness of an unfolding apocalyptic vision. An excerpt:
"I can see the future coming, it's a hundred years awayThis is the kind of song that can provide a clarion call of meaning to some, while others will long debate various interpretations and implications. In 5 minutes and thirty-five seconds, you'll discover yet again why you love music so much.
it's still running from the war we're still preparing for today...
...Every human in the story that is written in the earth
holds a fistful of the destiny we chose before our birth
If you measure your reflection by the length of shadow cast
then the future builds a fortress in the ruins of the past..."
Mustard's Retreat (David Tamulevich and Michael Hough) have intriguingly positioned their songs. The first four cuts all delve into the mysteries surrounding human relationships. Opening is "The Road Back Home To You," which depicts the grass, in this instance, being barer, rather than greener. The gently touching "Phone Messages" portrays an oblivious, now regretful, male:
"...Blossoms grace the hawthorne treeThe four offerings that follow all involve water, including a re-worked and re-worded "The Water Is Wide" and an a cappella rendition of "Shenandoah."
Love is gentle but not to me
I gave no thought to what might be
I never looked for a warning..."
Deserving of special mention is the innocuous-sounding "The Fishing Video." A couple, with different interests, heads out on a trout fishing excursion. The male brings along the usual gear of waders, vest, rod and reel. The woman, watercolors and beads. As the man is casting away, he notices, with each succeeding glance, that his companion is slowly removing article after article of her clothing. Well, nature calls and afterwards a troop of boy scouts come paddling down the river. The last verse goes:
"...She was combing the pine needles out of her hairThe subsequent songs veer back to a mix of the familial and human complexities, plus a cute tale of the insect world gone awry in "The Michigan Mosquitoes." One of cuts, "Mindy's Song," details the life of a college graduate working on a road crew. It ends with:
and they checked out my fish, but they were looking at her
and one asked, 'now why are you looking so pleased?'
and she said, 'there's a big one I caught and released'"
"...Old friends don't seem to understand, or want to knowMustard's Retreat, known for introspective, engaging compositions, pleasing melodies and a touch of humor, delivers yet again.
'Is this what you went to college for?' I just let it go
Life's made of songs and mysteries, and little poems
as we all search for that someplace we can call our own..."
David Tamulevich, on vocals, guitar, dulcimer and harmonica and Michael Hough, on vocals, bass and guitar, are backed by The Kennedys on acoustic guitar and harmonies; Danny Cox on drums; Jack Williams on guitar; Jamina Vasconcellos on congas; Garnet Rogers on fiddle and guitar; Peter Ostroushko on fiddle and mandolin; DC Fitzgerald on guitar; Jan Boyd and Casey Deely on harmonies; David Woodhead on piano, fretless bass, bass and accordion; Karrie Potter on guitar and harmony and Peter "Madcat" Ruth on harmonica.
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