Lone Hand Western - Old West History

Mark Bridge - Historical Music

Mark Bridge - Historical Music
Music & 1800's History Shows
"Historical Notes - The Songs of America's Heritage"

Mark Bridge - The Folksinger

Mark Bridge - Historical Music - Historical Notes - Minstrel music

SASS #23716

Historical Notes
The Songs of America's Heritage

2020 Historical Notes Presentations

Park Rapids, MN - Public Library
February 20 - 7:00 pm

Grove City, MN
 Oak Room at South Grove Square
May 21 - 1:30 PM

Cosmos, MN
Public Library Community Room
May 21 -  7:00 PM

Pipestone Civil War Days
August 15 & 16 - All Day

The History

The soft brush of fingers against guitar strings. The glow of the cook fire reflected off a well worn wagon canvas. A trail weary cowboy, riding night hawk, whistling softly to keep the herd bedded down. The occasional howl of a coyote off in the distance. The night sky is studded with a million stars. This is a night in the old west.  This is a night in history.

It seems that teachers of history ignore one very important facet of history. Music of the era. Dates, treaties, battles and philosophies are a very important part of our heritage. Major historical figures serve as examples of American patriotism. We find inspiration in their words and actions. In a way they are our national heroes. But there were many common heroes out there too. Cowboys, pioneers, settlers, miners, explorers, and every day folk helped to create this great nation. Their stories and history are told in song.

The musical time machine with the Smokey Hills Wranglers

Stephen FosterNothing comes close to an eras songs for teaching us what life was like in the past.
 Through music we learn of peoples goals, passions, concerns, thoughts, and most importantly, their humor. How can a person listen to the song “Clementine” and not smile at the tragic dying scene? “Ruby lips above the water, blowing bubbles soft and fine”. Clementine is a song that has endured for 150 years. It still teaches us and entertains us. Songs like “Oh! Susanna” and “My Old Kentucky Home Goodnight” by Stephen Foster have become musical standards enjoyed by generations. Many of our songs have melodies that were developed long before the folks who lived in the 1800's adapted them to fit their situations. In many cases a melody can be traced back hundreds of years and through many variations. Songs are history.

Minstrel music show by musical historian, Mark BridgeMuch of American history of the can be taught in song.  From the songs of the gold camps, the civil war, the Minstrel and medicine shows, people learn how music was a common thread in the 1800's.  The music is presented in a traditional manner and played on the popular instruments of the period including the Boucher banjo, tambourine and bones. In all cases the oldest known lyrics to the songs are used to maintain the accuracy of the music.  Traditional music from the 1800's is covered in detail along with fascinating tidbits of history from the Victorian era.

Along with Mark Bridge, you will meet interesting figures from history. Pioneers, settlers, miners, outlaws, hucksters, soldiers and more. Every song and interesting piece of history is a small but important lesson about our national heritage.

The Historical Notes program presented in a conversational manner and meant to be interactive. Audience members will even have the opportunity to play period accurate instruments

Comments from past shows.

Very interesting.”

“A part of our culture I knew little about, very enjoyable and informative

“Lots of fun and serious information

“Better sense of what went on in 1860’s through 1890’s in relation to cattle drives, homesteaders and railroads..”;

“Love the variety.”

“Extremely well done

“Mark’s garb in itself was informative and entertaining”

“Great synopsis of western history

“Music was very entertaining.”

 “There’s nothing like music to bond together a community.”

Comments from the September 22, 2015 show
"I heard that you had the audience singing along with you, that you had lots of interesting history to share, and that the whole event was enjoyable, entertaining, educational, and memorable".

"Thank you so much for coming to share your talents with our audience. People loved it, and quite a few people told me that your program put them in a good mood. They were glad they came. That's a big tribute to you".

Comment from the October 22, 2015 show
"Our evening of Civil War music was so interesting, the fellow came dressed in period clothing, he had made his own banjos, and had lots of stories and history of some of the songs of the era to share."

Comments from the November 10, 2015 show
"This was an outstanding program."
" Mark was outstanding!"
"Excellent information, loved the singing!"
" Mark was very interesting and knowledgeable I liked the audience participation"
"The top program of this ‘fall’ session."
"Brought back memories of the song book I used in elementary school, fascinating personal story. Info per the instruments was addressed. He should teach this at a college course! Nice touch with the audience participation"


Legacy Artist
This activity is made possible, in part, by a Region 2 Arts Council Individual Artist Grant Award with funding from the McKnight Foundation.

Dutch Oven Cooking Demonstrations and Classes
A very popular addition is to have "The Lone Hand" give Dutch oven cooking demonstrations.  The presentation is a fascinating mixture of Dutch oven and Victorian cooking technique and history.  Other topics include stack cooking, Dutch oven history, care of Dutch ovens, the art of sour dough, and a variety of techniques that are rather uncommon.

Appearance Schedule for 2016

Prairie Grass - Clitherall, MN - March 19
Historical Notes - Life Long Learning - Fosston, MN - April 6
Prairie Grass - Clitherall, MN - April 9
Prairie Grass - Clitherall, MN - April 23
Prairie Grass - Clitherall, MN - May 14
Prairie Grass - Clitherall, MN - May 28
Unpolished - Concert - Nevis, MN - FireFly Event Barn - May 20
Unpolished - Minnesota Bike Opener - Park Rapids, MN - May 21
Unpolished - Church Under The Pines - Itasca State Park - May 29
Unpolished - Concert Under The Pines - Itasca State Park - May 29
Northern Light Opera Company - Annie Get Your Gun - June 2
Unpolished - Private Event - June 9
Historical Notes - Wadena County Historical Society - June 17
Historical Notes - Canby Community Center - June 20
Historical Notes - Madison City Hall Auditorium - June 21
Historical Notes - Dawson Public Library Mezzenine - June 22
Unpolished - Noon Hour Concert Series - Park Rapids, MN - June 23
Historical Notes - Redwood Falls - Redwood Museum - June 25
Historical Notes - Benson Public Library - June 27
Historical Notes - Kerkhoven Public Library - June 28
Historical Notes - Graceville Public Library - June 29
Historical Notes - Ortonville Public Library - June 30
Unpolished - Park Rapids Crazy Daze - July 28
Unpolished - 125th Anniversary of Itasca State Park - July 31
Unpolished - Crow Wing County Fair - Brainerd MN - August 4
Unpolished - Taste of Dorset - Dorset, MN - August 7
Historical Notes -Tracy Public Library - August 11
Historical Notes - Benton Fremont Days, Te Tonka Ha Rondezvous - August 12
Historical Notes - Pipestone Civil War Days - Pipestone, MN - August 13
Historical Notes - Pipestone Civil War Days - Pipestone, MN - August 14
Unpolished - Church Under The Pines - Itasca State Park - September 4
Historical Notes - Fun On The Flatlands - Ada, MN - September 10
Unpolished - Habitat for Humanity Benefit Dinner - September 15
Historical Notes - Slayton Public Library - Slayton, MN - September 17
Unpolished - Art Leap - Park Rapids, MN - September 24 -25
Historical Notes - St. Scholastica College - Duluth, MN - October 31

History and music from the 1800's. Interesting history from the gold rush to the high days of logging.  Artifacts and curiosities from each period.

The show is wonderful for.
Historical Festivals - Museum Events - Classrooms - Fund Raisers - SASS - Tractor Clubs - Chuck Wagon Events

Experience counts. Mark Bridge has performed throughout the country.
Some of the events include:

Voice of the Prairie Radio Theater
Northern Light Opera
The National Festival of the West
Rex Allen Tribute of the Century
Crown Jewel of Western Music
Medora Cowboy Poetry Gathering
Disney World
Journey Museum
Chuck Wagons of the West

For more information about booking the Lone Hand for your event please use the Contact Page.


Smokey Hills Wranglers

The Smokey Hills Wranglers Chuck Wagon Supper Show

*The Smokey Hills Wranglers are a licensed distributor of Arbuckle Coffee Roasters of Tucson Arizona.

The Smokey Hills Wranglers Chuckwagon Supper Show & Historical Notes the Songs of America's Heritage is wholly owned by Mark Bridge and is a Lone Hand Production
Copyright © 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 Mark Bridge