Gabriel Brown Gabriel Brown playing guitar as Rochelle French and Zora Neale Hurston listen- Eatonville, Florida. 1935. State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory.

Born in 1910 in Gadsden County, Florida, Gabriel Brown spent his time in the blues music scene as a singer, songwriter, and guitarist. He focused on playing the piedmont blues, an east coast fingerpicking blues guitar style, which shined through in his performances.

After graduating college, he went on to perform at the first annual National Folk Festival in St. Louis, Missouri in 1934. This propelled his career forward, due to discoveries by folklorists attending the events, which brought him to record his debut album for the Library of Congress in 1935 with Alan Lomax. Titled Gabriel Brown and His Guitar, this record gave him further career and travel opportunities. He went on to work in various cities as a radio artist, for the Army Signal Corps, and at a Theatre under the director Orson Welles. He maintained his career as a recording musician throughout his various other jobs, ending up with many songs and multiple records in his discography.

Although Brown’s lifetime spanned many different cities across the United States, he came full circle back to Florida near the end of his life, and passed away in 1972.

Point of Interest

Gabriel Brown was born in Gadsden County where he learned the piedmont blues guitar style.