T Bone Burnett has teamed with Washington-based animator Drew Christie, music television producer Bill Flanagan and Van Toffler-run animation studio Gunpowder & Sky to develop a new animated documentary miniseries.
Titled ‘Drawn and Recorded’, the docuseries will recount little-known music history lore featuring such icons as Elvis Presley, Louis Armstrong and Blind Willie Johnson, as well as current rock and hip hop stars. Each will be brought to life through beautiful 2D animation, uncovering true stories from each musician that touch upon the creation of legendary recordings, chance artist meetings, untimely deaths and freak occurrences that altered the course of modern music.
"Working with Drew, Bill and Van is one of the most fun and rewarding collaborations in a life full of said collaborations," said Burnett. "I hope to continue telling these stories until there are no more stories to tell.
Toffler, who co-founded Gunpowder & Sky earlier this year to develop short-form digital content and traditional-length projects, said the series will "shine a light" on "buried fables" that range from the creation of music, chance meetings, untimely deaths, freak accidents and more. "Music has pretty much defined the emotional highs and lows of most of our lives," he explained.
Added Christie: "I have always been fascinated by the stories behind, underneath and around music. Music is very mystical and with animation we can get into that realm to explore it without being subject to the laws of gravity or time or space."
The series is being directed by Christie and produced by Toffler and Flanagan, with a narration by Burnett. The series is currently in production, but there’s no word yet on a distributor.
Here is Christie’s Psychedelic Blues, released earlier this year, in which American violinist and singer-songwriter Peter Stampfel tells the story of how the freak folk band Holy Modal Rounders first got together: