John Paul Gimble was born on May 30, 1926, in Tyler, TX. At the age of 12, he played in a band with his four brothers, and in the early '30s formed the Rose City Swingsters with brothers Gene and Jerry . In the late '40s he joined Bob Wills’ Texas Playboys, confounding most of his rivals by playing five-string fiddle and electric mandolin. Although playing with Bob Wills gave him most of his early success, Gimble has also recorded over ten albums of his own and picked up awards as Instrumentalist of the Year (CMA) and Best Fiddle Player (ACM) several times. Gimble worked as a barber and a hospital worker during the '60s, but returned to record with Wills in 1969. The experience primed him for heavy session work during the early '70s, including Merle Haggard's 1970 Wills tribute album and Wills' final appearance on LP, For the Last Time (1974). That same year, he recorded the first of his many solo albums, Fiddlin' Around.
Gimble gained the first of his five Best Instrumentalist and eight Best Fiddle Player awards in the late '70s, and performed with Willie Nelson's touring band from 1979-1981. Gimble finally hit the charts in 1983 with his Texas swing group and the added attraction of Ray Price on vocals. The single "One Fiddle, Two Fiddle" was taken from the Clint Eastwood film Honkytonk Man, and it reached number 70. The B-side, Wills' famous standard "San Antonio Rose," also charted. The sideman credits also continued to add up, and in 1993, Gimble was nominated for a Grammy award in the Best Country Instrumental Performance category, for his work on Mark O'Connor's fiddler tribute album, Heroes. Also, Gimble is often seen playing on Austin City Limits and Garrison Keillor's TV programs.
At 85, Johnny Gimble is proof that doing what you love keeps you young and happy. For Johnny Gimble, that is playing music and entertaining people for countless decades.