May 1975. It seemed inevitable. Libby Glover, Michael Hough and David Tamulevich had been informally jamming with each other for 3 months in the Rathskellar of the Old Heidelberg Restaurant in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The room had grown consistently packed with enthusiastic fans every weekend. They all agreed it was time trio made it official and chose the name Mustard’s Retreat, which was a tune David had written. (David has a friend, Nancy Mustard, who showed him how to play a slide on the guitar. David went home, wrote an instrumental using that slide and named the tune Mustard’s Retreat, using Nancy’s last name, and the Retreat coming from a traditional fiddle tune, Bonaparte’s Retreat).
Libby Glover, a native of Flint, MI, had been singing since before she could walk, and did so extensively through high school. She had been in bands and was now working as a bartender at the Old Heidelberg Restaurant on N. Main St. in Ann Arbor, MI. David came in and auditioned. The owner asked her, “What do you think?” and she hired him. That was January 1975, and it was David’s first paying gig. “He was pretty raw”, she laughs today, “but there was something there and I loved all the songs he was singing.” As the weeks went by, Libby began taking breaks from her bartender duties to join him on stage and they quickly worked up a substantial repertoire.
David was a transplant from Connecticut where he’d taken piano lessons and sang in the church choir, eventually becoming obsessed with the singer/songwriter/folk music world and the community that formed around it. He met Michael Hough the previous Spring at The Brown Jug Restaurant (also in Ann Arbor) where they were both short order cooks. They quickly discovered a mutual love of folk music and songwriting, rehearsed 3 songs in July 1974, and took those songs to the legendary Ark Coffeehouse’s open mic. They were a hit and were immediately asked back. The duo went on to make a name for themselves locally throughout the Fall of 1974.
Michael Hough had grown up outside of Detroit MI in a very musical family in which everyone sang and played. When he came to Ann Arbor to attend the University of Michigan, his Dad did not want him to take a guitar along – but, again it was inevitable, he just had to play, write and perform.
Michael began coming down the Heidelberg and singing with David and Libby. When David’s 2-month stint was up, Michael took over, and they continued singing together. The trio was very quickly packing the Rathskellar and other local venues. They were known for fun and spontaneity fueled by Michael’s joy of performing, David & Libby’s harmonies, and increasingly for their original songs. In May 1975, it became official: they were a band called “Mustard’s Retreat”.
The trio performed together off and on throughout the late 70’s whenever Libby was back from her various travels until a permanent move left Hough & Tamulevich on their own. Success and praise continued to follow them as a duo for the next 40 years, during which time they released a series of acclaimed recordings – now numbering 14. Add to that 4 highly praised compilations as part of The Yellow Room Gang, a collective of 8 award winning singer/songwriters from Southeast Michigan. (www.yellowroomgang.com).
Libby moved back to Michigan in 2014, and they began singing together again. The old chemistry was still there, deepened by the years of performing, stagecraft, songs, and the abiding friendship they all shared.
At long last, Mustard’s Retreat has produced their first album ever as a trio. It’s titled “Make Your Own Luck” and will be released in the Summer 2018. It’s a fitting title for the three of them who have always sung the songs they enjoyed and cared about, regardless of the trends of the music industry and pop culture. They are committed to simply being themselves, not chasing fame or brass rings, while delighting in and connecting with their audiences as if they were family. The honesty of what they present onstage and the extensive body of outstanding original songs and recordings all contribute to a fiercely loyal audience that continues to grow. “Music to cure what ails you” was how one reviewer in the 1970s described them, and that is as true now as it was then.
Now approaching their 45th year, they’ve traveled more than a million miles and performed more than 6,000 shows, from pig roasts and pool parties to Lincoln Center Out of Doors, The Barns at Wolftrap and the Kennedy’s Center’s Millennium Stage.
Their performances are always joyful and uplifting, as well as intelligent, thought provoking and insightful. They’ve recently begun referring to their career and touring as “Defiantly Hopeful.” In part due to their long career, but more as a statement about what the music has meant to them. “Folk music is, at its heart, defiantly hopeful!” Tamulevich says. “We came of age in the 60s, at the confluence of Pete Seeger, Peter, Paul & Mary, Bob Dylan and the singer/songwriter revolution. We care much more about what we do and stand for and finding that common ground with our audiences, than fame or money: this is our community of choice, and we consider ourselves so fortunate to be here.”
For more info search Mustard’s Retreat on Facebook, or go to www.mustardsretreat.com