A Prairie Home Companion’s 50th Anniversary Tour comes to Akron, OH with Heather Masse, Christine DiGiallonardo, Rich Dworsky, Sue Scott, Fred Newman and Tim Russell.
New Philadelphia, OH
Garrison Keillor brings his solo show to Kent State University. Poetry, Limericks, Sing-Along and the News from Lake Wobegon.
A Prairie Home Companion’s 50th Anniversary Tour comes to the Grand 1894 Opera House in Galveston, TX with our favorite regulars, Rich Dworsky, Sue Scott, Tim Russell and Fred Newman. Additional guests to be announced.
A Prairie Home Companion’s 50th Anniversary Tour comes to the McCain Auditorium in Manhattan, Kansas with our favorite regulars, Rich Dworsky, Sue Scott, Tim Russell and Fred Newman. Additional guests to be announced.
A Prairie Home Companion’s 50th Anniversary Tour comes to Nashville with Heather Masse, Christine DiGiallonardo, Rich Dworsky, Sam Bush, Stuart Duncan, Sue Scott, Fred Newman and Tim Russell.
Peter picked up his dad’s mandolin when he was a child and that was the start. Soon he could play fiddle or guitar, too. He was a teenager in high school when he knocked on Rudy Darling’s door and said he lived a few houses away and heard Rudy playing as he was walking by and could they get together sometime and play. So they did. He played some with Rudy’s band, the Middle Spunk Creek Boys, and then with Dakota Dave Hull, the Powdermilk Biscuit Band, the New Prairie Ramblers, the Mando Boys, Robin and Linda Williams. He had the chops and he had the heart. He could sight-read at tempo. He was always focused on the tune and his instrument, never seemed to be out to impress anyone. He was a composer and an improviser. Once, in Ashland, he walked onstage with the Spunks and stumbled and fell, carrying a borrowed Gibson mandolin, tucked it into his body, curled up, did a somersault, got to his feet, mandolin unharmed. He grew up on Ukrainian cooking and came to love barbecue, and looked for BBQ joints near the venues he played — “No pig, no gig,” said Peter. He liked fried egg and pickle sandwiches. He met Marge and they lived in a house on Nicollet Island, upstairs from guitarist Tim Hennessy, who called him “Mr. Buddy,” and they played swing, Irish fiddle tunes, bluegrass, and Peter’s compositions. Everyone who jammed with Pete or was in a band with him felt his intensity. He was a quick learner, eager to take on any challenge. His playing reflected his own personality: warm, sweet, humorous, honest, generous, mellow. He was a man of few words, sometimes an eyebrow movement was sufficient. He was a peacemaker: once, playing bluegrass at a bar, Pete’s band was heckled by a group of bikers and he swung into playing the Hokey Pokey and won them over. He liked the freedom of playing in duos with Dean Magraw, Dave Hull, Dirk Freymuth, Arkadiy Yushin, Danny Gotham, Dan Chouinard, Dáithí Sproule, but he also loved double- and triple-fiddle tunes. He met Dean Magraw at a party where musicians had been playing Irish tunes for an hour or so and someone said, “Does anyone know something that isn’t Irish?” and Dean and Pete jumped in and played “Honeysuckle Rose.” It was the first time they’d played together and it led to a 14-year partnership. In the Midwest ethos, people were careful to hide their seriousness so as not to be thought arrogant, but Pete was burning to play, had a rich repertoire of great music, was well-prepared, had a clear vision. He grew, adjusted, expanded, evolved, deeper and deeper into passionate musicianship, and everyone around him knew how good he was but there were no hard feelings thanks to his generous and openhearted nature. He never said a harsh word to musicians he played with. He was a mentor and teacher and if asked was glad to show you how to play “Gold Rush” or “Jerusalem Ridge” or “Black Mountain Rag” or “Nine Years Waltz,” or “Hamilton County Breakdown,” which he liked to play at breakneck speed. He had a powerful perfect in-time tremolo on mandolin that other players tried to imitate. He’d hear someone noodling something backstage and say, “Let’s do that tonight — play it again for me,” and he would learn it instantly. He played in clubs, on the radio, and as a favor for friends. He was a pro at touring — booked the flights, the hotels, the rental cars, did all the driving. On A Prairie Home Companion, Pete got to meet his hero Jethro Burns and jam with him backstage on “Nola” and “Tico Tico,” two challenging numbers that Pete made his own. With his good friend Dick Nunneley, he formed the Mando Boys quartet, two mandolins, mandola, and mandocello, and arranged music for it, swing tunes and ragtime, Brazilian choros, Bach, Vivaldi, original work, doing shows in which Peter (under the name Maxim) was the bandleader and spoke several languages, though not English, and Dick was his translator, and Pete got his chance to be a great comedian.
After his devastating stroke that left him in a wheelchair, unable to play music, he liked to listen to tapes of him and his friends playing, and when they came to a difficult passage and the friend did well, Pete turned to him and said, “See? See? You could do it,” still the teacher and encourager. He was a gifted and generous man and we are suddenly poorer without him.
— Your Prairie Home Family
A compilation from A Prairie Home Companion
Given Peter Ostroushko’s quiet and unassuming manner, his musical genius and remarkable range may have come as a surprise to those unfamiliar with his extraordinary talent. No surprise to his friends and collaborators and legions of fans. He could do it all — from old-time and bluegrass tunes to blues to Brazilian choros to jazz standards to his own compositions and more. And you’d be hard-pressed to think of anyone who played with more heart. This compilation is a tip of the iceberg. Here is a listing of all the tracks.
- Brazilian Tune in D – 11/2/91 – Rob Fisher and the Coffee Club Orchestra
- Billy in the Low Ground – 12/22/79 – Bob Douglas, Tim Hennessy
- Coming Down from Red Lodge – 3/16/02 – Rich Dworsky and the Guy’s All-Star Shoe Band with Dan Newton
- Walking in Jerusalem Just Like John – 10/1/05 – Garrison Keillor, Rich Dworsky and the Guy’s All-Star Shoe Band
- Lord, In Thy Bosom We Will Rest – 2/12/05 – Rich Dworsky and the Loner String Quartet
- Madison – 6/12/93 – Rob Fisher and the Coffee Club Orchestra
- A-Roving on a Winter’s Night – 12/22/79 – Bob Douglas, Tim Hennessy
- East Texas Waltz – 3/9/02 – Rich Dworsky, Pat Donohue, Gary Raynor, Cindy Cashdollar
- Heart of the Heartland – 1/24/98 – Friends and Rich Dworsky, Greg Hippen, Gordy Knudtson
- Medley from Texas – 1/20/01 – Rich Dworsky and the Guy’s All-Star Shoe Band with Randy Sabien
- Medicine Bow – 6/3/00 – Rich Dworsky
- Freight Train Blues – 11/1/75 – Robin and Linda Williams
- My People are Built Low to the Ground – 5/16/98 – Rich Dworsky, Greg Hippen, Gordy Knudtson
- Meditation on the Thin Space at St. Paul’s Chapel – 6/22/02 – Rich Dworsky
- Musette in A – 11/2/91 – Rob Fisher and the Coffee Club Orchestra
- No Name Blues – 3/2/02 – Rich Dworsky and the Guy’s All-Star Shoe Band with Cindy Cashdollar
- Puckett’s Farewell – 1/20/01 – Rich Dworsky and Gary Raynor
- One More Spring in Minnesota – 4/20/85 – Garrison Keillor, Chet Atkins and Band
- Puppy Belly Dance – 10/19/02 – Rich Dworsky and the Guy’s All-Star Shoe Band
- New Smyrna Serenade – 3/16/02 – Rich Dworsky
- Sacred Heart – 6/3/00 – Rich Dworsky
- Virginia Reel from Hell – 1/24/98 – Dean Magraw and Friends
- I’m So Glad You Came Into My Life – 5/16/98 – Friends and Rich Dworsky, Greg Hippen, Gordy Knudtson