Drawing heavily from his connections made at the University of Michigan School of Music, violinist Scott Conklin has assembled a diverse and unfamiliar collection of violin works by American composers, cleverly entitled "Violinguistics." Joined by pianist Alan Huckleberry (another Michigan grad), Conklin has selected something likely to please just about any listener. The album opens with the Kevin Beavers' (a student of William Bolcolm) "Sonata for Violin and Piano." Bolcolm's influence is quite present, especially Beavers' sultry, appealing incorporation of a blues movement as well as moments of lyrical tenderness. This is followed by Bolcolm's own piece, "The Graceful Ghost Rag," a laid-back, swaggering dialogue between violin and piano. Other works on the program include Ching-chu Hu's stark, breathtaking "Snow Ash"; Bright Sheng's evocative, piercing "Snow Ash" for solo violin; Joel Puckett's appropriately titled and descriptive "Colloquial Threads"; and finally, Kevin Puts' lush, lyrical "Aria for Violin and Piano." With such a varied program, the thing holding everything together is Conklin's keen interpretive powers and ability to deliver listeners to different times, places, and styles with his abundance of tone colors. His playing is technically superior, powering through even the most difficult of passages with ease. But it is not his technical acumen that listeners will first notice or remember; rather, the sincere, informed, and sentimental way he approaches each of the works on his program is striking, captivating, and capable of holding his listeners rapt from beginning to end.