Red River Valley

From Vol. 1
Traditional Treasures


CAPO: Fret 3



SKILL LEVEL: Intermediate

A Little About This Song…

Red River Valley is a folksong of shaky origins that has gone by a variety of titles: Cowboy Love Song, Bright Sherman Valley, Bright Laurel Valley, In the Bright Mohawk Valley, and Bright Little Valley; all use the same tune and similar verses.

Though widely known as a cowboy standard in the Wild West, music historian Edith Fowke reports that the song was heard in at least five Canadian provinces prior to 1900. This finding led to speculation that the song was composed at the time of the Wolseley Expedition to the northern Red River Valley in Manitoba in 1870.

The song expresses the sorrow of a local woman as her soldier/lover prepares to return to his home.

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