Rated 4.0

A turn-of-the-century music professor (Janet McTeer), while visiting her sister in the Carolina backwoods, discovers a rich vein of folk-music tradition that can be traced back almost directly to 18th-century England. Writer/director Maggie Greenwald seems at times to be working to rack up brownie points for political correctness, but the novelty of her premise and its humanity still shine. The cast is a mix of reliable veterans (Aidan Quinn and Taj Mahal as local musicians, Pat Carroll as a hillbilly matriarch) and talented newcomers (Emmy Rossum as McTeer’s assistant, Greg Cook as a mean-spirited hired hand).