Songs of the Mississippi River

A paddlewheeler passes beneath a bridge on a wide river.

NPS/Gordon Dietzman

Introduction

The Mississippi River may be the most musical river in the entire world! Drum songs, folk songs, blues and jazz were all created and recreated along its banks. Musicians have been truly prolific not only in the sheer volume of works about the river, but by the need to create entirely new musical styles just so they could describe their feelings about themselves and the river.

There are many interesting stories about and unique people along the Mississippi River, some of which have inspired ‘Songs of the Mississippi River’. These songs reflect the eight educational themes presented by the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area.

Play these songs; sing along to them, dance to them, be inspired by them! More importantly, come down to the river and consider taking an active role in caring for its future.

Background on Our River Songs

Charlie Maguire, was hired by the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area to be the "Singing Ranger." He worked for the NPS until Fall 2003, writing and performing songs about the Mississippi River and the people that have been--and continue to be-- affected by its many faces. Here we present some of Charlie's song along with the lyrics and stories that mirror Charlie's message.

Download the sheet music for these songs. (The audio files below, being performed with a live audience, varies from the sheet music.)

Use the controls on each of the players to listen to or download the files.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Last updated: June 14, 2019

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Mailing Address:

111 E. Kellogg Blvd., Suite 105
Saint Paul, MN 55101

Phone:

(651) 293-0200
This is the general phone line at the Mississippi River Visitor Center. Please leave a voicemail if we miss your call and expect a return call within 1 day, often sooner.

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