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As announced previously, in the spring of 2017 on PBS, a three-part documentary called American Epic will air.

Narrated by Robert Redford, the film depicts how the music of ordinary Americans was recorded for the very first time. The segments depict the extraordinary story set in the late 1920s when record company talent scouts toured the States with a recording machine and for the first time captured the raw expression of an emerging culture. The filmmakers follow the recording machine’s trail across the United States to rediscover the families whose recordings would lead to the development of blues, country, gospel, Hawaiian, Cajun and folk music without which there would be no rock, pop, R&B or hip hop today. The series culminates with the American Epic Sessions, featuring contemporary artists in recording sessions using original recording equipment from the era. The full three part series and The Sessions will also air in several other international territories with the BBC (United Kingdom), ARTE/ZDF (France and Germany), and Canal Plus (Spain) among them.

The Sessions is an album of exclusive new recordings produced by Jack White and T Bone Burnett. Among those taking part were Elton; Alabama Shakes; Beck; Merle Haggard (with Willie Nelson); Bettye LaVette; Nas; Los Lobos; Raphael Saadiq; and Jack White.

The artists have recorded both new compositions and songs from the 1920s and 1930s, which are featured in the PBS documentary. For The Sessions segment, the producers re-assembled a recording lathe from the late 1920s (the last of its kind in existence) and replicated the atmosphere of America’s seminal 1920s field recordings down to the smallest detail. The artists recorded straight to wax, using all the original microphones, amplifiers, and other equipment from that era. It was the first time that any performer has been able to use this machinery for over 80 years.
The music of American Epic–which includes Elton and Jack White on 2 Fingers of Whiskey–is available for pre-order now. To pre-order and for more information on the suite of American Epic music releases (”scroll down for the ”Sessions” option) go to:

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