Gamble Rogers was a prolific “Florida troubadour” and ambassador of Florida singer-songwriters. During his 30-year career, he performed in thousands of concert engagements throughout the United States. Widely recognized as a guitar virtuoso, he also played a pivotal role in the re-emergence of the art of storytelling and inspired many other storytellers. A second generation Floridian, Rogers was born and raised in Winter Park and later made St. Augustine his home. He began playing ukulele at 10 or 11, but took up the guitar when he became fascinated with the music of Merle Travis. He made his first appearance at the Florida Folk Festival in 1959 and became a near-legendary figure, generally closing out the program on Sunday nights. Rogers lost his life trying to save a drowning swimmer off Flagler Beach, and was posthumously given a Kiwanis Award for Bravery and a Carnegie Award for heroism. The Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area at Flagler Beach is named in his honor, as is the Gamble Rogers Middle School in St. Augustine. Rogers received the Florida Folk Heritage Award in 1993.
Podcast: Gamble Rogers