Allison McGourty

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Allison McGourty
Born Allison Claire McGourty
Bristol, England
Residence Santa Monica CA / London UK
Nationality British
Occupation Producer and writer
Years active 1990–present
Known for Creator, producer and writer of American Epic
Home town Santa Monica, CA
Website American Epic

Allison Claire McGourty is a Los Angeles based film producer, writer and photographer.

She is a member of the Writers Guild of America, West, The Sundance Institute, the IDA, and is the co-founder of Lo-Max Films, along with musician Duke Erikson and filmmaker Bernard MacMahon.

McGourty is the creator, producer and writer of the American Epic trilogy; American Epic: The Big Bang, American Epic: Blood and Soil, and American Epic: Out Of The Many The One. American Epic is a body of work about the deep roots of recorded music.

McGourty also produced and wrote ''The American Epic Sessions,[1] a musical film directed by Bernard MacMahon, edited by Dan Gitlin, and produced Jack White and T Bone Burnett, featuring many top artists [2] including Alabama Shakes, The Americans, The Avett Brothers, Beck, Frank Fairfield, Ana Gabriel, Rhiannon Giddens, Merle Haggard, Bobby Ingano, Elton John, Pokey LaFarge, Bettye LaVette, Los Lobos, Lost Bayou Ramblers, Taj Mahal, Steve Martin & Edie Brickell, Fred Martin & The Levite Camp, Ashley Monroe, Nas, Willie Nelson, Blind Boy Paxton, Raphael Saadiq and Jack White.

McGourty's films have been selected for a number of prestigious film festivals: the BFI London Film Festival ,[3] The American Epic Sessions IDFA,[4] American Epic: The Big Bang IDFA,[5] American Epic: Out Of The Many The One at the Hawaiian International Film Festival where it was nominated for the Halekulani Golden Orchid Award, The American Epic Sessions''] North American premiere at the SXSW Film Festival 2016],[6] the Gothenberg Film Festival in Sweden, and the Sundance Film Festival on 28th Jan 2016 where Robert Redford presented the USA premiere of American Epic at The Eccles.[7]

The Sundance special event was produced by Allison McGourty, and featured an introduction by Sundance founder Robert Redford, a screening of excerpts from the American Epic films, and a Q&A, hosted by Peter Golub of The Sundance Institute, with MacMahon, Taj Mahal, Jack White and T Bone Burnett.[8] This was followed by performances by Taj Mahal and The Avett Brothers.

McGourty is also the founder and director of Lo-Max Publishing Ltd, which publishes the work of the American musician Frank Fairfield, Louis Michot of Lost Bayoux Ramblers and Simon Lynge. Lo-Max Publishing's music has been featured on the US television shows Lie to Me, American Epic and Brothers & Sisters.

McGourty is also a photographer who has taken a series of professional portraits of published authors for their books, including Charles Shaar Murray,[9] Cathi Unsworth,[10] Tony Barrell.

Since 2004, McGourty has run an internship program for students participating in the Bandier Program for Music and the Entertainment Industries at Syracuse University in New York state.[11] This program involves mentoring Syracuse students at Lo-Max in London and Los Angeles.

McGourty has homes in London, UK, and Santa Monica, California.



Early life[edit]

McGourty was born in Bristol, England, lived briefly in Venice, Italy, and grew up by the Gleniffer Braes, on the fringes of Barrhead in East Renfrewshire, Scotland, where she attended the Cross Arthurlie Primary School. From an early age she was a successful competitive horsewoman, qualifying for the Horse of the Year Show. At Barrhead High School she became a grade-A student and won an award for history studies. She also played clarinet, and tenor saxophone in the National Youth Jazz Orchestra of Scotland.

From 1982 to 1987, McGourty attended Staffordshire University in England, gaining a Bachelor of Science degree (with honours) in computer science and French. For the third year of her degree course, she lived in Paris and worked for Électricité de France (EDF).

Early career[edit]

In 2003, McGourty founded the British independent record label LO-MAX Records, whose releases are distributed through [P.I.A.S]. Shortly afterwards, she signed the New Jersey-based rock band The Wrens to the label after spotting them at the South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival in Austin, Texas. The band, and their 2005 Lo-Max album The Meadowlands, subsequently received critical acclaim from the UK press.[12] Other signings to the label include The Go-Betweens and Kevin Ayers. McGourty has also worked with many artists, including the Jeff Buckley estate, Justin Adams, Nico Muhly and Bic Runga among others. In 2010, McGourty signed the Greenlandic singer-songwriter Simon Lynge, whose debut album, The Future, reached the top of the UK Rock Charts in the week of its release, as well as gaining the artist considerable media attention, with several radio interviews,[13] and features in The Times, The Sunday Times, The Scotsman,[14] and the German edition of Rolling Stone. McGourty has written, directed and produced a short film in Greenland about Lynge.[15]

McGourty was employed by the international management consultancy firm Deloitte & Touche before joining Reuters in 1990, where she was part of the launch team for Reuters Television. Between 1995 and 2003 she worked for the BBC, for the UK Horizons television channel, specialising in documentary programming, before moving on to the BBC World Service.

Musical influences[edit]

McGourty has credited her passion for music to her family. Her father, the newspaper executive Tom McGourty[16] from Glasgow, would make regular journeys to New Orleans and to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC to collect rare jazz and blues records. Her sister Christine is a flautist and pianist, her brother Gordon is a guitarist, and her maternal great-uncle Franz Wiederhofer was lead violinist in the Vienna Symphony Orchestra.


  1. ^ Moore, James. "American Epic Sessions: In conversation with the director of a truly one of a kind music documentary | Gigwise". Retrieved 2016-01-26. 
  2. ^ "'The American Epic Sessions': London Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2016-01-26. 
  3. ^ "Buy cinema tickets for The American Epic Sessions | BFI London Film Festival". BFI London Film Festival 2015. Retrieved 2016-01-26. 
  4. ^ "The American Epic Sessions | IDFA". Retrieved 2016-01-26. 
  5. ^ "American Epic: The Big Bang | IDFA". Retrieved 2016-01-26. 
  6. ^ "SXSW 2016 Event Schedule | The American Epic Sessions". SXSW Schedule 2016. Retrieved 2016-02-03. 
  7. ^ "american-epic". Retrieved 2016-01-26. 
  8. ^ "Jack White, Avett Brothers Premiere 'American Epic' Doc at Sundance 2016". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2016-02-03. 
  9. ^ "Charles Shaar Murray". Headpress. Retrieved 27 November 2014. 
  10. ^ "Cathi Unsworth". Retrieved 27 November 2014. 
  11. ^ "Bandier Program/Syracuse University College of Visual and Performing Arts". Retrieved 9 February 2012. 
  12. ^ Michael Hann (9 March 2006). "The Wrens: ULU, London". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 February 2012. 
  13. ^ "Celebrity Interview With Simon Lynge". More Radio. 26 July 2011. Archived from the original on 25 April 2012. Retrieved 9 February 2012. 
  14. ^ Custom byline text:  From the archive (14 January 2010). "Interview: Simon Lynge – singer/songwriter". The Scotsman. Retrieved 9 February 2012. 
  15. ^ "Simon Lynge in Greenland". Lo-Max Records. Retrieved 27 November 2014. 
  16. ^ Custom byline text:  From the archive (25 May 2006). "Obituary of Tom McGourty". The Herald. Retrieved 9 February 2012. 

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