Performance: Home on the Range: Cowboy Songs of David Guion
Performed by Heidi Cohenour Gordon with Sunnie Oh Schuler on piano
Return to Library and Museum Collections Forum
Edythe Bates Old Chapel
7:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Songs of David Guion to be performed
David Guion wrote several different types of cowboy songs. These include descriptive, religious/reflective, narrative, and love songs. The underlying themes of these different types of songs correspond to various images associated with Texas. Wild animals, wind, landscapes, rivers, and whiskey feature prominently across the song types.
"Ride Cowboy Ride" was one of several songs from a Carnegie Hall performance in 1934, featuring Guion on piano and a quartet of singers. The other songs in the evening's program which were performed in the 1934 show include "The Bold Vaquero," "Home on the Range," and "All Day on the Prairie." These songs were heard on Guion's two radio shows that broadcast from NYC in the mid-1930s and helped start the singing cowboy craze.
Guion's vocal/piano compositions highlight his training as a classical pianist. While the vocal lines of the narrative and descriptive songs in particular are often repetitive, the piano lines are through-composed and provide interesting subtext. This can be heard clearly in "All Day on the Prairie." While the cowboy boasts about the free life on the open range, a dissonant piano interlude that follows a passage where he boasts about sleeping under the stars shows that the cowboy's back hurts from the stony ground. This humor that Guion shows in his piano lines can also be seen in the technically difficult "Ride Cowboy Ride," where he makes the piano line even harder for the performer when he demands clean pedal throughout.