Carmen Cusack and Paul Alexander Nolan in Bright Star/Photo: Nick Stokes

For me, the term “bluegrass music” nestles comfortably in the same mental area code as “genuine imitation,” “military intelligence,” and indeed “military music.” The plucking, the twanging—the adjective for which I reach is rebarbative. It has been for many years a reliable rule that wherever you may find a banjo, you will not find me. Having just looked up the matter, I can confirm that, no, there are no sonatas for banjo by Beethoven, nor by Bach or Mozart. The great banjo-based opera has yet to be written. There is no...


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