Hungarian composer Béla Bartók got his best stuff from rural folk, and banjoist Jake Schepps takes Bartók’s music back to the countryside—American style. Leading a grassy roots ensemble of banjo, violin, mandolin, guitar, cello, and bass, Schepps adroitly balances the refined and the rustic while indulging Bartók’s ear for spirited melodies and swelling emotionalism. It’s a marriage so natural that you might hardly notice when “Cousin Sally Brown” strolls through the proceedings.
Have something to say? Send a letter to firstname.lastname@example.org. This article first appeared in the November-December 2011 issue of Utne Reader.