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Fiddling great Gimble dies at 88

Sunday, May 10, 2015 – Fiddling great Johnny Gimble, who was a member of Bob Wills & The Texas Playboys, died on Saturday at 88 in Dripping Springs, Texas. He suffered several strokes in recent years.

Gimble was born May 30, 1926 in Tyler Texas and started playing music in a band with his brothers by the time he was 12. After serving in World War II, he returned to Texas to play with radio and dance bands. By 1949, he was a member of Wills' band with whom he toured for most of the next decade.

Gimble played fiddle and electric violin with Wills. Gimble utilized a five-string fiddle, whereas most fiddlers used four strings. By the early 1950s, Gimble settled in Dallas and performed on the weekly variety show, The Big D Jamboree. He formed his own group in 1951, playing at Wills' clubs in Fort Worth, Texas and Oklahoma City, Okla. Two years later, he rejoined Willis, playing with him until the early 1960s.

By the late 1960s, Gimble eventually moved to Nashville where he worked as a session musician. He played with Merle Haggard on his Wills tribute release, Conway Twitty, Connie Smith, Ray Price, Willie Nelson, Lefty Frizzell and Chet Atkins (his 1974 album "Superpickers"). He also recorded 10 solo albums.

Gimble toured with Nelson from 1979-81. He later appeared on Austin City Limits and Garrison Keillor's radio shows. Gimble won five Best Instrumentalist Awards from the Country Music Awards and nine Best Fiddle Player honors from the Academy of Country Music. He also won two Grammys: for his arrangement of "Red Wing" on Asleep at the Wheel's 1994 tribute disc and the following year for Best Country Instrumental Performance for "Hightower" with Asleep at the Wheel.

CD reviews for Johnny Gimble

Celebrating With Friends CD review - Celebrating With Friends
It's no surprise that when former Texas Playboy fiddler Johnny Gimble is putting together a new record that the likes of Willie Nelson, Vince Gill, Merle Haggard and even "Prairie Home Companion" host Garrison Keillor are more than happy to lend their vocal talents to the project. What is so impressive is that Gimble, who joined Bob Wills' Texas Playboys in the late 1940s, is that at 83 years old, still never seems to miss a note. Studio trickery? Gimble's producer and »»»
Editorial: Walking the talk – When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: The Lil Smokies provide the perfect antidote – On a night when the world to be falling further apart thanks to coronavirus (this would be the night the NBA postponed the season), there stood The Lil Smokies to at least in some small measure save the day. The quintet is part of a generation of musicians with bluegrass as the basis, but not totally the sum of the music either.... »»»
Concert Review: White makes the case for himself, no matter how dark the music – John Paul White opined with a glint in his eyes that his songs were not of the uplifting variety. In fact, they were downright dark. How else to explain "The Long Way" with the line "long way home back to you." Or "James," a song inspired by his grandfather who suffered from dementia. But lest you think that the Alabama... »»»
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