Since 1980, Minnesota native Peter Ostroushko has held down the fiddler's chair in the house band at A Prairie Home Companion... He's also performed prolifically both live and as a studio musician on countless country and bluegrass recordings. Ostroushko has seasoned his music with explorations of his Ukrainian heritage, along with jazzy newgrass and traditionalist outings... Here's a quick look at his work...


Peter Ostroushko "Sluz Duz Music" (Rounder, 1982)

Peter Ostroushko "Down The Streets Of My Old Neighborhood" (Rounder, 1986)

Peter Ostroushko "Peter Ostroushko Presents The Mando Boys" (Red House, 1986)

Peter Ostroushko "Buddies Of Swing" (Red House, 1987)
A jazzy retro set, with contributions from mandolinist Jethro Burns, Johnny Gimble on fiddle, Butch Thompson (piano), vocals by Prudence Johnson, as well as longtime collaborator Dean Magraw on guitar, and Ostroushko's Praire Home companion, pianist Butch Thompson. Sweet stuff!

Peter Ostroushko "Blue Mesa" (Red House, 1989)

Peter Ostroushko & Dean Magraw "Duo" (Red House, 1991)
Lively, eclectic instrumental duets with Dean Magraw; some of this is a little overly ornate and far-flung for my tastes, but there's no denying the high level of musicianship. If you like jazzy, newgrassy stuff, this is certainly worth checking out.

Peter Ostroushko "Heart Of The Heartland" (Red House, 1995)

Peter Ostroushko "Pilgrims On The Heart Road" (Red House, 1997)

Peter Ostroushko "Sacred Heart" (Red House, 2000)
A crossover-a-licious acoustic set that tends to be either goofy and light, or dips into weighty, highbrow "Americana" (in quotation marks because I want to set it aside from the usual, run-of-the-mill twangcore stuff, and signal clearly that this is more lofty, more artsy stuff... You know, like music that would be used in a Ken Burns documentary, or something like that...) Not much here that really rang my bells, sad to say. Pretty pretentious and muzak-y; not to sound too snobby or anything, but Ostroushko's long stint as a house musician on NPR's A Prairie Home Companion are clearly showing...

Norman Blake & Peter Oshtroushko "Meeting On Southern Soil" (Red House, 2002)
Ostroushko and retro-acousticat Norman Blake have collaborated on several projects... This flat-out fabulous disc perfectly captures their easygoing vibe. As with Blake's other releases, it's the understated mastery and pervasive love of the music that come through, and these two fellows have as much command of the material as anyone on the face of the planet. A really nice album -- quiet, evocative, full of great old songs, and a nice sense of give-and-take between the musicians. Recommended!

Peter Ostroushko "Coming Down From The Red Lodge" (Red House, 2003)
Plenty of fine and fancy fiddling and picking from this veteran '70s newgrasser. Stylistically, this ranges all over the map, from relatively straightforward bluegrass to old-timey, Antebellum-flavored Celtic aires, and softer "new acoustic" style crossovers, all with solid musicianship. I prefer hearing Ostroushko stick to more old-fashioned material, which he excels at, but folks who've been introduced to his work via his appearances on A Prairie Home Companion will probably enjoy this album in its entirety.

Peter Ostroushko "Minnesota: A History Of The Land" (Red House, 2005)
The soundtrack to a four-part TV series about America's lake-iest state, with music composed and performed by Mr. O, a native son, ever devoted to the fields of waving grain...

Peter Ostroushko "Heartland Holiday: Live At The Fitzgerald" (Borderland, 2005)

Peter Ostroushko "Postcards: Travels With A Great American Radio Show" (Red House, 2006)

Peter Ostroushko "When The Last Morning Glory Blooms" (Red House, 2010)

Best-Ofs & Collections

The Mando Boys "Holstein Lust: The Mando Boys Live 1987-1995" (Borderland, 2006)


Hick Music Index

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