In the late 1920s a team of record company talent scouts toured America with a recording machine and for the first time captured the raw expression of an emerging culture. Jack White, T. Bone Burnett and Robert Redford have teamed up as executive producers of American Epic, a three-part documentary about those important days in the burgeoning music industry airing on PBS. The first installment of American Epic premiered on Tuesday and PBS has shared the full episode:
The next two episodes of American Epic airs on PBS Tuesdays May 23 and 30. Check your local listings to confirm the time in your neck of the woods. Jack White and his team also put together a feature titled American Epic Sessions which premieres on Tuesday, June 6 at 8 p.m. The performance special follows Jack and T. Bone Burnett as they co-produce an album of today’s artists such as Elton John, Nas, Beck, Willie Nelson and Alabama Shakes recording tracks on 1920s equipment.
NPR has shared a taste of American Epic Sessions by unveiling a video featuring Alabama Shakes laying down a cover of Memphis Minnie’s “Killer Diller” using the lone remaining electrical sound recording equipment from the ’20s. The audio included in the video is taken directly from the resulting recording with no editing or enhancements, watch: