Peter Ostroushko

Coming Down from Red Lodge

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Peter Ostroushko is a master musician who just happens to love roots music in its many forms. This album, composed of ten pieces he wrote for his appearances on the radio show A Prairie Home Companion, is a perfect illustration of his breadth and instrumental virtuosity on both fiddle and mandolin. "(Peter's Most Excellent) Trip to Donegal" is an exercise in Irish music that's anything but by the numbers, his filigree decorations to the tune coming with great imagination and speed. "President George W. Bush's Hornpipe" is a comic construction, lurching drunkenly from phrase to phrase, but resolving itself in sprightly fashion. "Cashdollar Blues" takes him into the heart of American music, as does "Topanga Canyon Strut," although in a more countrified way. The only track that doesn't really work is "Hymn: Page 9/11," perhaps because the emotions involved remain too fresh to be put into notes. With that caveat, this is one of Ostroushko's best releases -- and that statement alone is no small praise, given his stature as one of the American greats.

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