Takeharu is a wonderful shamisen player and rokyoku (storytelling) singer. He developed a highly musical and entertaining style of rock 'n' roll shamisen and in 2003 went to East Tennessee State University for a year to study American traditional culture especially bluegrass. Aged 14 Takeharu had first heard bluegrass and the following year met Bill Monroe in Japan. In Tennessee he started playing his shamisen with a bluegrass band, which led to the formation of the group The Last Frontier. They toured in Japan and the US and recorded this album together. Appalachian Shamisen feels like an entirely natural combination, the result of years of absorbing bluegrass into rokyoku and shamisen. Brilliantly played, with loads of humour. Fantastic stuff.