Legendary fiddle player Johnny Gimble passed away on Saturday morning, May 9, 2015, at a nursing facility in Marble Falls, just west of Austin, due to complications from several strokes he had suffered in recent years. He was 88 years old.
John Paul Gimble was born May 30, 1926, in Tyler, Texas.
Through his fiddle playing with Bob Wills’ band the Texas Playboys, he helped to pioneer the jazz-orientated Western Swing genre of music in the 1940s and the 1950s.
Described as “a true Texas treasure,” Gimble had “a jazz mind and Western Swing is just jazz played by country musicians,” according to Jason Roberts, a long-time member of the Western Swing band Asleep at the Wheel.
He started at the age of 12 playing in a band with his brothers before forming a trio, the Rose City Swingsters, with two of them.
Gimble had three spells working and recording with Bob Wills
He spent several years working as a session musician and he won five Best Instrumentalist awards from the Country Music Association and eight Best Fiddle Player awards from the Academy of Country Music.
During the 1990s and 2000s he made many appearances on Austin City Limits, setting a record, now surpassed, for the number of appearances on that programme.
His One Fiddle, Two Fiddle, a country radio hit, was included in the Clint Eastwood film Honky Tonk Man.
He has about a dozen solo albums and his fiddle can be heard on recordings by Merle Haggard through to Carrie Underwood. Gimble played mandolin also.