Hot on the heels of the three-part PBS series “American Epic,” which explored the history of recorded music’s origins in this country, comes a postscript of sorts that features an Austin icon. “The American Epic Sessions,” airing Tuesday at 7 p.m. on KLRU, includes a segment in which Willie Nelson teams up with his late friend Merle Haggard to record Haggard’s song “The Only Man Wilder Than Me.”
The recording was done using early-20th-century equipment that etched the sound directly onto discs. Similar sessions throughout the two-hour show capture tunes from the likes of Elton John, Alabama Shakes, Beck, Bettye LaVette, Frank Fairfield, Los Lobos, Nas, Rhiannon Giddens, Steve Martin & Edie Brickell, Taj Mahal and more, all produced by T Bone Burnett and Jack White.
The program repeats on KLRU twice this week, at 3 a.m. Wednesday and 1 a.m. Friday. An audio soundtrack will be released Friday on CD and digital download via Columbia Records, and on vinyl by White’s Third Man Records on June 16. The film made its debut at South by Southwest last year.