Legendary fiddler who once hosted KWTX show joins Country Hall of Fame

Johnny Gimble performing at Waco's Indian Spring Park. (File)
Johnny Gimble performing at Waco's Indian Spring Park. (File)(KWTX)
Published: Mar. 28, 2018 at 1:42 PM CDT
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Johnny Gimble, the legendary fiddle player who hosted the show “Johnny Gimble & The Homefolks” in the 1960s on KWTX before Nashville called, will be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame later this year along with bluegrass player Ricky Skaggs and singer Dottie West.

“This honor is the highest achievement in our industry, and each of this year’s inductees have helped define country music throughout the decades,” said Sarah Trahern, CMA chief executive officer in making the announcement Tuesday in Nashville.

“We’re thrilled to congratulate them today and welcome them into the distinguished circle that is the Country Music Hall of Fame.”

Gimble’s daughter Cyndi, sons Dick, an instructor in McLennan Community College’s commercial music program, and Jon, McLennan County’s district clerk, and granddaughter Emily, whose own musical star is rising, were in Nashville for announcement.

Gimble, who was born on May 30, 1926 in East Texas, died on May 9, 2015 at his home in Dripping Springs near Austin.

He grew up on a farm and went on to perform with the Shelton Brothers in Louisiana and then after serving in World War II joined Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, the band with which he toured for most of the next decade.

After he left the Bob Wills band in 1960, he moved to Waco where he hosted the show at noon on weekdays on KWTX-TV for three years, worked as a barber at the VA hospital, and played at weekend dances.

Eight years later he moved to Nashville just as interest in the fiddle was on the rise and he played with such musicians as Marty Robbins, Ray Price, Chet Atkins and, of course, Willie Nelson.

He won Grammy Awards for best country instrumental performance in 1993 for “Red Wing” and again in 1995 for “Hightower.”

In 1975 he won the CMA’s Instrumentalist of the Year award; the first of five times he was so honored, and he continued to play Texas Swing to another generation, accompanied by younger musicians, including his son Dick on bass and vocals and granddaughter Emily on piano and vocals.

West is also being inducted posthumously.

She died in a car crash in September 1991 in Nashville.