Performance Today®

with host Fred Child

Jacob Bancks' "Rock Island Line"

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Composer Jacob Bancks Courtesy of the artist
4min 59sec : Jacob Bancks' 'Rock Island Line'

Every Friday on PT, we feature 21st century music. Music written in a year that begins with a 2. Today, composer Jacob Bancks helps dissect his 2014 piece, "Rock Island Line," which was inspired by a particular place.

Bancks teaches at Augustana College in the quad cities area, where the Mississippi River draws the border between Iowa and Illinois. It's also a place where the sounds of trains mix with the mighty Miss, and that feeling is part of what Bancks tried to capture in his piece.

"Rock Island Line" was commissioned by Davenport, Iowa's Quad City Symphony, which premiered it earlier this spring.

More "Rock Island Line"


You might be more familiar with the Lead Belly-penned folk tune, "Rock Island Line." Composer Jacob Bancks incorporates the melody towards the end of his version.



Johnny Cash, and many others, played a version of "Rock Island Line," which follows the path of the Rock Island Line train (and acts as a metaphor for life) as it pulls out from New Orleans and heads to Illinois.