Sally Rogers is a remarkably accomplished musician, songwriter, storyteller, and educator. Over her career she has recorded more than a dozen albums and has established herself as a preeminent voice in folk music. Noted for her command of guitar and mountain dulcimer, she also takes turns on a variety of instruments including banjo and harmonium. Rogers has toured extensively, performing as well as teaching workshops with adults and children. She has also appeared on A Priairie Home Companion and Mountain Stage as well as a favorite at folk and storytelling festivals.
Originally from Western Michigan, Rogers earned a degree in music education from Michigan State University. After graduating, she stayed in the area, performing and running the Elderly Instruments School of folk music. By the early ’80’s she was touring and recording for the Chicago based Flying Fish Records. Her second album, In the Circle of the Sun received the ‘Best Folk Album’ of 1982 award from the National Association of Independent Record Distributors (NAIRD). For her 1987 album Closing the Distance, also on Flying Fish, Rogers teamed up with fellow singer/songwriter Claudia Schmidt. Their collaboration was picked by public radio stations throughout the country as among the ten most popular albums of the year. Working with Schmidt also brought Rogers to Red House for the first time, when they recorded While We Live in 1992. Rogers also collaborated on albums with husband Howie Bursen, recording Satisfied Customers and When Howie Met Sally for Flying Fish.
In 1988, Rogers reached a whole new audience with her first children’s recording, Peace by Peace. The album received wide critical and popular acclaim, and Rogers soon became a favorite children’s performer, known as one of those extraordinary individuals who can squeeze music out of a stick and song out of an eighth grader. Her second children’s recording, Piggyback Planet, featured environmental songs for kids and received the 1990 Parents’ Choice Gold Award for Audio Recording. She followed this with What Can One Little Person Do?, which garnered another Parents’ Choice Gold Award as well as the 1993 NAIRD Award for ‘Best Children’s Recording’. Performing for children, Rogers not only found another outlet for her music, but another venue in which to teach, and she has developed a variety of programs for kids, ranging from women’s history to dulcimer building and playing.
Her last Red House release We’ll Pass Them On is a solo record that finds Rogers focusing her attention on the power and the beauty of the folk tradition. Many of the songs on the album are those that first interested her in folk music and inspired her to discover more; others are Rogers’ originals, songs written in the spirit of folk tradition and which sound as timeless as those which are centuries old.