Jack White and T Bone Burnett lead an epic recording session using the only working 1920s recording device in existence in this tribute to the artists celebrated in the American Epic documentary series.
The recording device is timed by a weight-driven system of clockwork gears. Stripped of the comforts and security of modern technology, the artists have three minutes and one chance to get their music etched into the surface of a revolving wax disc before the weight hits the floor.
Conceived as a sonic experiment — an attempt to recreate the conditions of the early record company field teams — the result is a series of career-topping performances by leading artists pushed to meet the standards of their heroes. Going back to basics and capturing the energy of a unique live performance, these recordings are heard exactly as they were made.
Musicians featured: 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 with Merle Haggard.
First aired on PBS.