I was the chief researcher and producer for Annie Leibovitz’s book, AMERICAN MUSIC, a collection of photographs of the musicians, places and people that enrich the landscape of American music.
Our photo shoots were location based: we traveled across the country to juke joints in the Mississippi Delta, honkytonks in Texas, and jazz clubs in New Orleans. We traced musical lineages passed down through multiple generations of performers, and discovered the diversity of recording studio constructions — deep in the Northern California redwoods, in self-storage units with skate ramps, in living rooms and in LP-filled basements. Leibovitz captured the humble origins of a diva’s first home, and all the Nudie-suit-sparkle of the Grand Ole Opry. We were backstage… a lot.
The new photographs created for AMERICAN MUSIC are complimented by Leibovitz’s existing archive of music greats — Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Lou Reed, Lauri Anderson, Mary J. Blige, Bruce Springsteen and more. The book includes a commentary about the project by Leibovitz, short essays by musicians Patti Smith, Rosanne Cash, Steve Earle, Mos Def, Ryan Adams, and Beck as well as biographical sketches of all the musicians.