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American Epic

Posted by Third Man on 8 April 2015

T Bone Burnett, Robert Redford, and our very own Jack White present American Epic, a three-part historical documentary and The American Epic Sessions feature length recording studio film airing on PBS and BBC Arena this Fall. Directed by Bernard MacMahon, American Epic takes us on a journey across time to the birth of modern music, when the musical strands of a diverse nation first combined, sparking a cultural renaissance that forever transformed the future of music and the world. The three-part historical documentary follows the trail of record company talent scouts from the late 1920s as they toured America with a recording machine to capture the raw expression of an emerging culture whose recordings would lead to the development of the Blues, Country, Gospel, Hawaiian, Cajun, and Folk music. 

In addition to the historical documentary and sessions broadcasts, American Epic will include companion music releases of archival recordings featuring groundbreaking audio restoration of original 1920s and 1930s recordings, The American Epic Sessions contemporary performance recordings, and a deluxe vinyl box set, produced, designed and released by yours truly.

For The American Epic Sessions, the filmmakers have re-assembled the recording machine that allowed America to first hear itself. They have replicated the atmosphere of America’s seminal 1920s field recordings down to the smallest detail, with top American artists recording straight to wax, using all the original microphones, amplifiers, and other equipment from that era. This is the first time that any performer has been able to use this machinery for over 80 years. Led by producers Jack White and T Bone Burnett, today's legends are given a once-in-a-lifetime chance to relive the experience of the founding mothers and fathers, their idols, and remake the music that changed America and changed the world. The sessions feature performances by Alabama Shakes, The Americans, The Avett Brothers, Beck, Frank Fairfield, Ana Gabriel, Rhiannon Giddens, Merle Haggard, Bobby Ingano, Elton John, Auntie Geri Kuhia, Pokey LaFarge, Bettye LaVette, Los Lobos, Lost Bayou Ramblers, Taj Mahal, Steve Martin & Edie Brickell, Fred Martin and The Levite Camp, Ashley Monroe, Nas, Willie Nelson, Charlie Kaleo Oyama, Blind Boy Paxton, Raphael Saadiq, and Jack White.

Watch the American Epic teaser below, and visit AmericanEpic.com for more information and updates.