Filming and post-production work on Brand USA’s second giant-screen documentary, America’s Musical Journey, is winding down in anticipation of a premiere screening in Washington, DC on February 15, 2018 at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. The film explores the vast musical heritage of the United States - from jazz to blues to country to rock and roll.
It follows the 2016 release of National Parks Adventure, a documentary that Brand USA produced in tandem with independent filmmaker MacGillivray Freeman as a tribute to the centennial of the National Park Service. That film featured footage from more than 30 parks.
National Parks Adventure was seen by seven million international viewers and won 33 industry and media awards. The Giant Screen Cinema Association named it the best short-subject film for 2016.
Singer and songwriter Aloe Blacc, who has a starring role in America’s Musical Journey, met with a group from Brand USA, MacGillivray Freeman, and the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp at Blackbird Studio in Nashville, Tennessee on October 2, during an inside look at the production in progress.
The Brand USA visitors in Nashville included Chris Thompson, president and chief executive officer, Anne Madison, chief strategy and communications officer, Tom Garzilli, chief marketing officer, and James Namude, director, global sponsorships.
Among the MacGillivray Freeman group were Greg MacGillivray, chairman and owner, Barbara MacGillivray, Shaun MacGillivray, president, and Meghan MacGillivray.
Butch Spyridon, president, and Deana Ivey, chief marketing officer, attended on behalf of the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp.
Blacc, a rapper-turned-singer, topped the charts with “Wake Me Up,” a 2013 hit that he sang and co-wrote. He received a Grammy Award nomination in 2014 for best traditional R&B album with “Lift Your Spirit.” His singles, “I Need a Dollar” and “The Man” also became signature hits.
“We chose Aloe Blacc as our guide for this film as he embodies the creativity and trailblazing spirit that makes American music such a treasured experience around the world,” said Greg MacGillivray. “I hope people are inspired to explore their own creativity after seeing the film.”
Blacc was with several other musicians who have roles in the film – banjo-player Willow Osborne, flutist Gareth Laffely, and steel-guitarist Bruce Bouton.
Osborne, who is 17, has been the featured “youth performer” for the past four years at the Country Tonite Theatre in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, a prominent, live country-music production in the Smoky Mountains. She also has had her own show at nearby Dollywood Theme Park’s “Bluegrass and Barbeque Festival.”
Laffely, a 19-year-old musician, is best known for his on-stage presentations using a Native American flute. As a songwriter, he was 11 when he composed his first piece to receive national attention. Bouton, also a songwriter, records in Nashville and is currently performing as a member of the Garth Brooks World Tour. He came to Nashville in 1978 to start his professional career as a musician.