Over 400,000 people moved their families in search of a better life in the American West during the Westward Expansion. The pioneers made room for musical instruments with their guns,
food, and tools while taking only the minimal necessities that would fit into modest wagons. During what seemed like an interminable dusty journey, music was often the sole source of light and happiness for these exhausted travelers. This book examines the roles of music in the Westward Expansion and the diverse cultural landscape of the Old West, including Northern Cheyenne courtship flute makers, fiddle-playing explorers, dancing fur trappers, hymn-singing missionaries, frontier flutists, girls with guitars, wagon-driv- ing balladeers, poetic cowboys, singing farmers, musical miners, and preaching songsters.
Laura Dean’s music career spans over twenty-five years and includes audiences in the United States, Europe, and Mexico. She lives in Seattle, Washington, where she performs, teaches, writes, records, cre- ates music curricula, and offers private and public concerts along with school/community residencies and music education workshops.