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Pioneer History in Story and Song - with David Gordon

Music was an integral part of life in mid-19th century USA. In those days most live music was mostly home made: 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 lived in a historic small town in Oregon for eight years, and his music studio overlooked the route of the Oregon Trail in the 1840s and the Overland Stage from Portland to Sacramento in the 1860s and 1870s. That inspired David to create a series of concerts based on songs from the pioneer era.

Since 2016 David has presented nearly fifty sold-out performances in Oregon and California, featuring 130 vintage 19th-century songs interwoven with fascinating history and anecdotes.

Every song in the series was popular in the United States between 1840 and 1890, 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 playlist, follow these links:

Quick Links:  Series Timeline and Songlist     Themes      Audio

David has collected his favorite highlights into a unique 60-to-80 minute program of vintage songs and tales:

“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.

David's playlist 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.

David Singing