PBS brought a touch of class to "reality TV" with its Frontier House miniseries, in which three families agreed to pretend they were homesteaders in 1880s Montana, enduring life without 21st century c

PBS brought a touch of class to "reality TV" with its Frontier House miniseries, in which three families agreed to pretend they were homesteaders in 1880s Montana, enduring life without 21st century conveniences. Composer Edward Bilous brings a similar touch of class to the soundtrack. Appalachian fiddle and blues harmonica add texture, while the well-ordered layering of piano, steel guitar, and mandolin lends a modern flavor. All this could sound anachronistic, but more than evoking a specific time or place, Bilous' simple instrumental compositions and plaintive arrangements evoke a more impressionistic frontier. Listen closely, and you can almost hear a cold stream trickling past a meadow or feel a gentle breeze rustling the cloth curtains inside a log cabin. Clean and crisp as mountain air, Bilous' music brings the past to the present and the frontier to your living room.—WH