Bach Sonata No. 1 in G Minor / Partita No. 1 in B Minor, by Chris Thile

Chris Thile is equally committed to the mandolin—that oh-so-traditional instrument he plays so uncommonly well—and to progressive stylistic exploration. Often this makes his projects come off a bit cute, the Harlem Globe­trotters of acoustic music. On paper, this audacious new crossover project—Thile playing J. S.

Small Town Heroes, by Hurray for the Riff Raff

On Alynda Lee Segarra's fifth album as Hurray for the Riff Raff, the Puerto Rican Bronx native wraps social commentary around Americana references.

Beautiful Love, by Paulinho Garcia

Paulinho Garcia—one of the most versatile and skilled Brazilian musicians in the Midwest—lives up to his album title. His nylon-stringed guitar playing is angelic, and his voice is cappuccino smooth.