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Pioneer History in Story and Song - with David Gordon

David Gordon's music studio in historic Jacksonville Oregon overlooks the route of the Oregon Trail, and that view inspired him to explore the role of music in the lives of people in the mid-19th century.

Music was an integral part of life in mid-19th century America. In those days - even in settled areas - 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 SingingThe result of David's research was a popular concert series now in its third season. David has presented 26 sold-out performances featuring more than 80 vintage songs interwoven with fascinating stories.

These concerts have been devoted exclusively to songs that were popular in the United States between 1840 and 1880. Literally the "Greatest Hits of..."

Most of the songs were published as sheet music, and David creates his arrangements from the originals. For an overview of the entire 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 a unique 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 I sing in this series were widely popular in America from 1840 to the late 1870s. This era encompasses 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.

My 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.

Quick Links:

The Songs    The Stories

Audio and video samples on the Media Page

For concert booking, contact Ginna Gordon

David in Concert

David Singing
Wallace Stegner Quote