In the 1930’ & 40’s, legendary folklorist Alan Lomex set off on a journey across rural America to capture some of the earliest field recordings of traditional American songs using then state of the art 78rpm lacquer discs. These instantaneous in situ recordings introduced the world to the likes of Woody Guthrie, Lead Belly and Muddy Waters and inspired a century of popular music.
80 something years later, filmmakers Alex Steyermark and Lavinia Joans Wright visit contemporary musicians and bands from across America to recreate these classic recordings in their homes, garages and gardens, using an original 1930’s Presto direct to disc recorder.
There’s something quite magical in listening to these haunting recordings being played back to the artists who have just performed the songs, like a ghostly visitation from a past life version of themselves. In the age of youtube and smartphones, these raw, ultra lo-fi recordings offer a fascinating glimpse into the early days of popular music culture and an authentic new way to connect with our musical heritage.