Lisa Ostrow


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Author: Los Ciegos Del Barrio 
Listen to one of the most accomplished talents in our community. With her sweet distinctive songbird voice full of pizzazz and sincerity. she has a theatrical style in her music with a wonderful blend of uptempo jazz and her heartfelt ballads. if you like the more theatrical side of music that is well done and heartfelt, you have to listen to Lisa Ostrow. We love her music.

Author: Kris Tronerud, reviewer for The Brattle Theater, Cambridge, MA


Whenever I’m given something... any piece of art, music, or whatever... from somebody in my circle of friends, it’s a double edged sword - I could be turned onto some great new something I wasn’t aware of before - or I could be receiving something I’m not going to like, and I end up having to find a polite way of not saying I hated it. In the case of Lisa Ostrow’s Unconditional, I needn’t have worried. Even after my initial positive reaction, I put it down for awhile, just in case I was not being entirely objective. When I listened again, I liked it even more.


Make no mistake, Ms. Ostrow is, as they say, a talent to reckon with. Take note: your reviewer is a 60’s kinda guy, most often disposed to classic rock and renegade Indie, so when I tell you the following, you may take it that I was thoroughly surprised, disarmed, and won over by Unconditional. As a point of reference, think: the clarity and focus of early Julie Andrews filtered through the purity of voice of Joan Baez, with a smattering of Oasis era Maria Muldaur channeling very early Marianne Faithfull, with a healthy dose of... well, Lisa Ostrow; as she takes these various influences (and probably others) and makes of them something distinctly her own.


Ms Ostrow’s particular gift (aside from that spring water clear voice, of course) is that rare ability to take strong, heartfelt emotion, and, instead of ramming it down our throats, coax us into her world, letting the songs speak for themselves. In Ostrow’s world, the song is king, and that makes us listen, (what a joy to have the words matter again) and care. In the service of that goal, it must be said that Ostrow is one of those rare performers who have a direct connection from their heart to their instrument: no filters, guile or pretension; that instrument being the aforementioned, and, in the very best possible sense, sweet voice.


The music is almost uniformly delightful. After a brief tease of Anything can Happen, Unconditional gets its only clunker out of the way, the Vegas-y Once Upon a Time, which strains to little effect. After that though, Unconditional just keeps getting better and better. As soon as everyone steps back and lets Ostrow loose on the songs, she skates across Patrick Dreier’s spare, elegant production and Scott Nicholas’s rich piano accompaniment with an effortless songcraft that seems both confident and oddly humble. Lisa Ostrow has a thing for the music of Broadway composer Frank Wildhorn, and delivers a brace of Wildhorn’s best, which form the core of Unconditional, and, quite frankly, have never sounded better. From the simple and heartfelt And So Much More, to the sexy bounce of Don’t Ask Me Why, to the swingin’, and downright funny Is This Any Way To Fall In Love, Ostrow brings out the subversively simple and seductive structure and lyrical candor of Wildhorn’s best work, and makes it her own. And, in her hands, I’ll Forget You takes its place alongside I Get Along Without You Very Well in the short list of great breakup songs.


Even when Unconditional veers perilously close to Celine territory (the vaguely overbearing When You Tell Me That You Love Me), Ostrow’s plain dealing honesty of presentation carries us through the rough spots, bringing the album through the chilling Maybe I Like it That Way, and the sensual Unusual Way, winding up with the full version of Anything Can Happen and the quietly upbeat If I Had My Way. Key in that journey is the consistently first-rate musicianship on Unconditional; special mention going to Don Krishnaswami’s gorgeous strings on Lullabye, and Michael Digidio’s smoky sax curling its way around And So Much More and I’ll Forget you. So, if you’re in the mood for bombast, posturing and fakey hip, look elsewhere...


If you’re looking to be gently invited into a place where sadness and loss are looked straight in the face and overcome, and where optimism and hope are earned honestly and seem unfashionably non-icky, then pick up on Unconditional. You heard it here first.

Author: John Fradley, United Kingdom


Buy this music simply because it is flawless.

Author: Jan Gullberg, Canada

As a professional musician, I want to acknowledge the thrill I got from listening to "Unconditional." I especially loved "Don't Ask Me Why" and "Is This Any Way To Fall In Love." Her unique interpretations are like a breath of fresh air and her intonation is flawless. The "changes" in the selections were especially interesting. I eagerly look forward to her next CD.