Fiddle and mandolin player Peter Ostroushko completes his "heartland" trilogy with Sacred Heart, which follows Heart of the Heartland and Pilgrims of the Heart Road, each of them ten-track albums of his original material. But where Heart of the Heartland eschewed drums for a completely string-oriented acoustic and instrumental sound and Pilgrims of the Heart Road consisted of songs with lyrics and singers, Sacred Heart is the most eclectic of the three discs, and perhaps the closest to Ostroushko's eclectic musical vision. It is a return to instrumental tracks, but while it recalls earlier material, it also allows for the occasional tune with drums and presents all sorts of musical influences. At his most basic, Ostroushko is a product of his mixed upbringing as the son of Ukrainian immigrants who taught him Eastern European traditional music as a child, as well as a modern American ingesting the pop music of the rock era and, necessarily, becoming familiar with the traditional folk, country, and bluegrass styles that form the vocabulary of fiddle and mandolin playing in the U.S. Mix that all up together, add in strains of jazz and classical, and you have the many-faceted sound of Sacred Heart. The wonder is that it all works so well together, but that is because of Ostroushko's composing talent and his sense for when to speed up or slow down or change musical styles. Sacred Heart is always presenting different styles to the listener, even within the same piece, and each seems fully realized before giving way to the next. It's a multi-course meal that keeps surprising the palate and leaves the listener feeling satisfied but not overstuffed.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann