It’s fair to say that Jack White has been a little bit busy lately. He’s been dropping instrumental new tracks that could be the theme tune to a baseball game, gearing up to release The Dead Weather’s new live album and getting up to all sorts of things with his Third Man label.
He’s also been working on ‘American Epic,’ a three-part documentary series, film and recording project he’s been conceiving alongside T Bone Burnett and actor Robert Redford. It centres on the early days of recorded sound and music, and the film portion of the project (‘The American Epic Sessions’) is set to feature performances from everyone from Beck and Nas to Alabama Shakes and even Elton John, all paying tribute to early recorded artists by using 1920’s equipment.
As reported by Pitchfork, in a statement Jack said: “In American Epic we can examine how important the fact is that when phonograph records were invented, for the first time ever, women, minorities, poor rural men and even children were given the opportunity to say whatever they wanted in song, for the whole world to hear, shockingly without much censorship. What they were allowed to say on phonograph recordings, they were not allowed to speak in public or in person. That is an astounding thought.”
So, some dates for your diary if you want to catch the whole of ‘American Epic.’ The three-part documentary will be screening on the BBC and PBS in the United States every Tuesday starting from 16th May, with the film being shown on 6th June. The ‘Sessions’ soundtrack and selections of archive recordings will be available from 12th May, while the companion book arrives on 2nd May. ‘American Epic’ indeed.
Watch the PBS trailer for ‘American Epic’ below.