A Review of the Mustard’s Retreat CD
“Living In The Dream”

"Living In The Dream"
by Mustard's Retreat

Copyright 2010
Mustard's Retreat

This review written by Kevin McCarthy, 4/11
"Kevin's Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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The latest from Mustard's (David Tamulevich and Michael Hough) Retreat -- "Living In The Dream" -- offers an eclectic set of offerings but principally hovers over the often-tread but still unmapped territory of good, bad, strange and lost love while also edging past those boundaries in one specific cut. Call it liaisons under the microscope, fixating on both its joyousness and aberrations. It could be offered that everything has already been said and written, if not yet acted upon vis-a-vis this subject but the manners of delivery remain inventive here and the genesis of all such behavior steadfastly inexplicable.

"Find A Way To Love" to this untrained ear sounds as if backed in part by sitar but it's actually dulcimer driven and contains this life commandment which is also quite the mantra:

"...In wonder we are born. To mystery we're gone.
Find a way. Find a way to love..."

The edgy "Obsession" is not an ode to a certain Calvin Klein product but certainly could accompany a television commercial (hint, hint):

"...It's waiting in the shadows, the rumor of your heart
Where you hide those dreams you never dare to start
It's the chill along your spine. You hesitate because
It's the darker side of passion that you're afraid you'll come to love..."

"Baby I'm just Crazy About You" echoes human reconnaissance and contains this particular pathway:

"And I'm eager to learn if you warm or you burn, and see if they are one and the same..."

"Where is My Heart Tonight" depicts a purgatorial-type relationship status, not knowing if the next destination is heaven or hell, a la this chorus:

"Blindsided, reminded, stumbling through my days. Unwinding, not finding a way to go. or stay."

The title song here is paradoxical of much of our current life. In it, what is treasured is both the participation and the contributions of all, including the audience, in the arena of folk concert production. This in stark contrast to the uber me, me, me deviancy exhibited by so many in our societal institutions. Call this Kumbaya-ishness if necessary but such an appellation doesn't diminish the good and the partnership that is generated and who couldn't use more of that nowadays?

"The Thimble Island Ghost" is a good one and rightly deserves a place in the nautical song pantheon of cribbing from history as it takes the listener on a journey begun centuries ago but open-ended to the present.

The desire for home-cooking in the carnal sense is the theme of "Blow the Candle Out" -- yet another mariner tradition.

Iris Dement's "Let The Mystery Be" is a paean to being minus provable answers so it says abide with love and leave the sorting out to others so inclined.

"Wynken, Blyken & Nod" may lead some to be believe it's a description of the law firm representing a death row client in Texas but no, it really is the Eugene Field metaphor musically presented. This one is very catchy so don't be surprised to find your toe tapping.

This is comfortable music. But before such is determined a backhanded compliment allow an explanation. It's inviting and welcoming, people and songs easily imagined gathered and shared in a living room -- living in the dream, if you will. This is the 10th Tamulevich and Hough release, a prodigous yet quality laden catalogue, especially when considering the sometimes sisyphean artistic task of continuing to have something to say worth listening to and delivering it with matching musicality. Music may not be able to change the world but it certainly contributes to an enhanced quality of being and Mustard's Retreat has often unacknowledgeably been in the forefront of the additioners. This pair is American folk music exemplified, as is "Living In The Dream."

The musicians backing the duo are substantial contributors so a tip of the hat to David Mosher, Kay Smith, Theresa Swift, Jan Krist, Matt Watroba, Sharkey McEwen and Tyler Duncan for their respective augmentations.

Track List:

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