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Pioneer History in Story and Song - with David Gordon

Music was an integral part of life in mid-19th century America. In those days most live music was locally produced: a dance with the fiddle; an upright piano or a pump organ in the parlor; a guitar or banjo; or perhaps unaccompanied voices joined together in a hymn or an old song. Sheet music was a booming business and people enjoyed making music at home.

David Singing

David Gordon's music studio in historic Jacksonville, Oregon overlooks the route of the Oregon Trail and the Overland Stage from Portland to Sacramento. That view inspired David to create a popular southern Oregon concert series: "Pioneer History in Story and Song."

In the past four seasons David has presented 34 sold-out performances featuring nearly 100 vintage songs, interwoven with fascinating history and anecdotes.

All the songs in the series were popular in America during the 19th Century, the era encompassing the Oregon Trail, the Gold Rush, the Civil War years, the settlement of the Western Frontier, and the rise of the professional musician and song writer. For details of the entire series song list, follow the links below.


Quick Links:

Series Timeline and Complete Songlist          Themes

Audio and video samples on the Media Page


David has collected his favorite songs and stories into a unique highlights program:

“Dear Friends and Gentle Hearts”

Songs & Stories from 19th Century America

David Gordon

The narration interweaves the songs, places them historical context, and helps us to connect with them and with 19th century life.

The playlist of this sampler concert varies according to season and setting, but recent concerts in California and Oregon have included songs like Wait for the Wagon; O Shenandoah; Do They Miss Me at Home; Home Sweet Home; Hard Times Come Again No More; Take me up with you, dearie; Beautiful Dreamer; In the Days of 49 and a bunch more.

You will learn the real name of the Man on the Flying Trapeze, the true story of My Old Kentucky Home, the surprising origins of Rock A Bye Baby and other memorable tales. Combining the music with fascinating historical background ignites the imagination and brings life to history.

For concert booking, contact Ginna Gordon


David Singing

Wallace Stegner Quote