Johnny Gimble Biography

30 May 1926, near Tyler, Texas, USA. The fifth of six brothers, Gimble grew up in a musical environment, and each of his brothers played a stringed instrument. By the age of 12, having already learned both fiddle and mandolin, he was playing with four of his brothers at local dances and made his first radio appearances while still at school. He left home when he was 17 and found work playing fiddle and banjo with the Shelton Brothers and also with Jimmie Davis on KWKH Shreveport. In 1949, he joined Bob Wills’ Texas Playboys (for the first time) and moved with Wills from Oklahoma to Dallas, when he opened the Bob Wills Ranch House. Around 1951, he left full-time work with Wills but later played with him on other occasions. Gimble continued to play local venues and did session work with several artists including Marty Robbins and Lefty Frizzell, but in 1955, seeking some work with security, he became a barber and moved to Waco. During the 60s, he returned to a full-time musical career. He realized that he could find a lot of work as a session musician and relocated with his family to Nashville. Here his talents were much in demand and he worked with many top artists including Merle Haggard, who used him, as an ex-Texas Playboy, on his tribute album to Bob Wills. Apart from his countless session recordings with others, he recorded in his own right and worked with the popular First Nashville Jesus Band. He moved to Austin in the late 70s but still continued with some session work in Nashville. He has toured with many artists including Willie Nelson, has been featured on the popularHee-Haw andAustin City Limits television series and has made several appearances at the Wembley Festival in London. He is equally at home with western-swing, country, blues or jazz music and during his career he has won many awards in recognition of his outstanding fiddle-playing.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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