Willie Nelson featured in PBS special, “American Epic”

www.PBS.com

Go inside one of the greatest-ever untold stories: how the ordinary people of America were given the opportunity to make records for the first time.

The three-part historical documentary “American Epic” will explore the recording process during the Roaring 20s, when music scouts used cutting edge technology to capture the music and artists who would change the world. Robert Redford narrates the series that includes appearances by a wide roster of well-known musicians, including Willie Nelson, Jack White, Elton John, Beck, and Merle Haggard. It premieres May 16.

First, catch the three-part series Tuesdays, May 16 to May 30 at 9/8c on PBS.

Then catch The American Epic Sessions premiering Tuesday, June 6 at 8/7c on PBS (check local listings).

The American Epic Sessions

Synopsis
In THE AMERICAN EPIC SESSIONS, the American Epic 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

 

 

It premieres May 16.

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