Biography of "Illinois" Doug Tracy

Doug Tracy"Illinois" Doug Tracy is a musician, folklorist, and troubadour. He’s part of a long tradition of entertainers who share encyclopedic collections of American songs with their audiences.

As a member of the Oregon Lincoln Bicentennial Commission (OLBC), he became interested in the songs of Lincoln’s presidential campaigns. His program, Liberty & Union, Presidential Campaign Songs, 1860 & 1864, presents campaign songs of Lincoln and each of his opponents. Through song and story he takes the audience along on the campaign trails of 1860 & 1864 and tells of the issues and characters who shaped the most crucial elections in our history. These campaign songs give us an insight to the candidates’ positions and how divided, both culturally and politically, Americans were at the time. "Illinois" Doug has presented his program at Lincoln Town Halls, music festivals, museums, schools, and cultural events in Oregon & Washington.

Doug Tracy at New Salem Tavern

Doug Tracy grew up on a farm in Mattoon, Illinois, where he first performed music. His parents both were musicians and entertainers, his father playing jazz saxophone in Chicago speak-easys and his mother singing at social events and in minstrel shows.  As Wynton Marsalis has said of the minstrel show, “it was masquerading, farce, comedy, dance, and music, and while it seemed uncomplimentary, there was something centrally American about it.”

These diverse musical influences allowed Illinois Doug to gain exposure to hundreds of long-forgotten American songs, many of which remain in his repertoire today.

Lincoln Statue in Charleston

During the 1960’s, Doug was an active member of the blossoming folk music scene that emerged in and around Phoenix, Arizona. Eventually, he moved to Portland, Oregon, where he lives today. His current group, the Two Hills Trio, presents a deep survey of jazz, folk, blues, bluegrass, western, and traditional country music.

Proud Member
American Federation of Musicians
Local #99
Portland, Oregon