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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: Gayle, Orlando provide good old-fashioned entertainment – Although this pairing of country star Crystal Gayle and Tony Orlando may have - on the surface - appeared to be an odd one, tonight's audience demonstratively loved each performer equally. It was an evening of memorable songs, fun and funny stories and just good old-fashioned entertainment. Gayle opened the show with a strong set of country... »»»
Concert Review: With or without band, Isbell satisfies – Usually, when an artist performs without his regular backing band, it becomes about mathematics of subtraction. That artist is armed with far fewer artistic weapons at his/her disposal, after all. In Jason Isbell's case, though, when he performed with just his wife and fiddler Amanda Shires, it was more about substitution than subtraction.... »»»
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