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July 2015-Johnny Gimble

iFiddle remembers Johnny Gimble

Few musicians have changed the course of music for the better. That is, upped the bar for us to emulate. Of course I’m speaking of legendary fiddler and musician, Johnny Gimble.

Here is an excerpt from Thomas McGregor’s article that will be included in the Johnny Gimble tribute issue:

John Paul Gimble born May 30, 1926 was better known as Johnny Gimble, an American country fiddle musician primarily associated with Western swing music. Johnny Gimble was born in Tyler, Texas and grew up in a community call Bascom, Texas. His musical journey started yearly in life. He began playing fiddle in a band with his brothers at age 12 and, continued playing together for several years as The Rose City Swingsteres. Gimble was considered one of the most important fiddlers in the genre, pioneering the classic Western song with his unique blend of double-stop(playing multiple strings at the same time) and clean sound. Mr. Gimble was an icon amongst fiddlers and Western music enthusiasts. Regardless of age or the modern age, Gimble still continued to grow and learn and “make stuff up” or his way of composing. Throughout different life experiences and influences, Mr. Gimble continued to look for new ways to keep the music he loved alive and in the hearts of the next generation. He left a legacy of family, students and fans. Individuals that will continue the style he cherished so. Throughout his life Johnny dedicated years of his time to education and the teaching of fiddle and swing to, not only those close to him but, to students that came from all around to learn from him. There is still must we can learn from Gimble and his style. Luckily, modern technology allows us to relive moments Johnny shared with us and the music that will stay in our hearts. The Western swing music he favorited perfectly fit his disposition. Johnny was a fun and easy going fiddler that love playing because playing was fun. He believed in a deep sense of fun in music. The industry side of music interested him less as he got more into the music. Johnny felt that music can make people happy both; the players and the listeners. The music he “made up” had two objectives: 1. To have fun and have a good melody. 2. To be fun to dance to and fun to listen to. We can safely say that Johnny Gimble’s life was both full of life and fun and in service of others.

Mike Spears
I'm the author, editor and publisher of iFiddle Magazine and the owner of the site, I'm a fiddler, a teacher and general all around good guy wanting to help out the vast fiddling community.