American Epic is a forthcoming PBS documentary about the early-20th-century birth of the American recording industry — specifically, about the era when labels would go out into rural America to find blues and folk and country musicians. There’s also going to be a performance special called The American Epic Sessions in which musicians like Willie Nelson and Beck perform old songs in a rebuilt version of one of those original recording setups. Jack White is one of the movie’s executive producers, and PBS has shared some footage from the doc. In it, Nas appears, talking about the ways that the Memphis Jug Band’s 1928 single “On The Road Again” connects to rap music. And toward the end of the clip, we see Nas recording a new version of that song with an old-timey band that includes a soul-patched White. Check it out below.
American Epic debuts 5/16 on PBS.