Jack White and Elton John are among the artists set to recreate American music history in a new three-part documentary series American Epic, as well as a feature-length film The American Epic Sessions.
American Epic explores the history of the Twenties, in which record companies travelled across America with the first electrical recording rig in search of new artists.
The original machines are no longer usable but audio engineer Nicholas Bergh reassembled one from its original parts for the project. His rig was used to record all the music for the accompanying film, The American Epic Sessions.
American Epic has already premiered at the Sundance festival. It will premiere to the public on PBS on May 16, 23 and 30, while The American Epic Sessions will air June 6th on PBS.
The soundtrack is set for release on May 12, via Legacy Recordings, Columbia and Jack White’s record label Third Man Records.
A companion book for the series will be released on May 2 with behind-the-scenes accounts as well as interviews with those who witnessed the first recordings. Unseen photographs and artwork will also be featured.
The White Stripes frontman is currently recording in Nashville, Tennessee, with a follow-up to 2014’s ‘Lazaretto’ – his second solo album – in the works.
Speaking to The New Yorker for a rare profile feature, White revealed that he’d been recording on a reel-to-reel tape machine that he’d bought when he was 14 with money made from “mowing lawns.” The piece also sheds a light on his current recording space, which is described as sparse in that it only contains his recording equipment, a cot and four windows – all with the shades drawn.
Talking about the set-up, White said: “If I could just break my leg and be in the hospital for six weeks, what would it be like? Something about a room and a cot and a little space. You have nothing to do.”