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 explore the role of music in the lives of people in mid-19th century America.
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.
The result of David's research is a popular Jacksonville concert series now in its third season. David has presented 26 sold-out performances featuring 82 vintage songs interwoven with fascinating history and anecdotes.
These concerts are devoted exclusively to songs that were widely popular in the United States between 1840 and 1880. Literally the "Greatest Hits of..."
Most of the songs were originally published as sheet music, and David creates his arrangements from the originals. For timeline of the songlist, visit the Song Page.
David interweaves the songs with fascinating historical background, a combination that ignites the imagination and brings life to history.
David's themes range from the life of Stephen Foster to songs about the Gold Rush, travel, saloons, and the Civil War. To learn more, visit the Stories Page.
After 26 performances of 82 songs, David has collected his favorite songs and stories into this unique highlights program.
"Dear Friends and Gentle Hearts"
Music & American life in the mid 19th Century.
The program length is flexible - 60 to 90 minutes - and the content is designed to suit the event or concert.
All the songs in this series were popular in America between 1840 and the late 1870s, anera encompassing the Oregon Trail, the Gold Rush, the Civil War years, the settlement of the Western Frontier, and the rise of the professional performer and song writer.
The narration interweaves the songs, places them historical context, and helps us to connect with them and with 19th century life. You will learn the real name of the Man on the Flying Trapeze, the true meaning of My Old Kentucky Home, the surprising origins of Rock A Bye Baby and other memorable tales.
Audio and video samples on the Media Page
For concert booking, contact Ginna Gordon