Jack White, T Bone Burnett, and Robert Redford have partnered to executive produce a three-part documentary series, a feature length film, and a series of recordings. The documentary series, American Epic, is directed by Bernard Macmahon and will air this fall on the BBC documentary showcase series “Arena” and PBS and chronicles the first recordings of American roots music in the 1920s (early forms of blues, country, folk, and more). Burnett said, in a statement, “These musicians we profile are the real American heroes. They set out from the darkness with nothing but a guitar on their backs, put out their thumbs and conquered the world.”
The American Epic Sessions, a feature-length film, will follow the series and include performances by White, Alabama Shakes, the Avett Brothers, Beck, Merle Haggard, Elton John, Los Lobos, Ashley Monroe, Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, Nas, Willie Nelson, and many others as they attempt recording using 1920s and ’30s techniques and technology—filmmakers restored America’s first recording machine model and artists will record straight to wax using original microphones, amps, and other such equipment.
The series will eventually be available on DVD and Blu-ray—a companion album and box set, as well as a companion soundtrack that features restored 1920s and 1930s recordings is being prepped by Sony Music’s Legacy, Columbia Records, and White’s Third Man Records. A trailer for the project is streaming below.