THE AMERICAN EPIC SESSIONS
Coming in June on PBS & BBC THE AMERICAN EPIC SESSIONS with Jerron 'Blind Boy' Paxton, Frank Fairfield, The Americans, and Hubby Jenkins performing with Rhiannon Giddens plus many others.
THE AMERICAN EPIC SESSIONS is a feature-length film showcasing an all-star roster of contemporary artists, led by Jack White and T Bone Burnett, replicating this early recording process on an original 1920s electrical recording system and paying tribute to those great artists of the past.
PBS and BBC Arena announced today that the AMERICAN EPIC three-part historical documentary will air in the U.S. on PBS on Tuesdays May 16, 23 and 30 at 8 p.m. (check local listings). In the U.K. the episodes will air on BBC in May. THE AMERICAN EPIC SESSIONS will air in the U.S. on PBS on Tuesday, June 6 at 7 p.m. (check local listings) and in the U.K. on BBC in June.
"The film is a love letter to recorded sound, without which we’d never have left the silent film era and an intimate visual portrait of the recording process...a celebration of the honesty, vulnerability and immediacy of recording and the joy of making music." — AUSTIN360
“A feast of musical and educational riches…a joyous exercise in cultural archaeology.” The Hollywood Reporter
In THE AMERICAN EPIC SESSIONS, the team has reassembled the very first electrical sound recording system from the 1920s, and invited Jack White and T Bone Burnett to produce an album of recordings by twenty of today’s greatest artists. In this beautifully filmed musical feature, these artists are given the chance to pass through the portal that brought the world into the modern era.
Engineer Nicholas Bergh has reassembled this recording system from original parts and it is now the only one left in the world. The system consists of a single microphone, a towering six-foot amplifier rack, and a live record-cutting lathe, powered by a weight-driven pulley system of clockwork gears. The musicians have roughly three minutes to record their song direct to disc before the weight hits the floor. In the 1920s, they called this “catching lightning in a bottle.” All the musical performances in this film are live. The audio you hear is taken directly from the discs they were recorded to, with no editing or enhancements.
Starring: Alabama Shakes, The Americans, Ana Gabriel, Ashley Monroe, The Avett Brothers, Beck, Bettye LaVette, Bobby Ingano, Elton John, Frank Fairfield, Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton, Los Lobos, Lost Bayou Ramblers, Nas, Pokey LaFarge, Raphael Saadiq, Rhiannon Giddens, Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, Taj Mahal, Jack White, and Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard.