Terrell’s Tuneup: Nimble as Gimble
A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
March 19, 2010
He fiddled with Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys. He fiddled with Willie Nelson, Asleep at the Wheel, Dolly Parton, and Merle Haggard — and also on TV with Hee Haw’s Million Dollar Band. His fiddling won him a National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship in 1994, presented to him by then first lady Hillary Clinton. And he fiddled on the campaign trail for Louisiana Gov. Jimmie Davis. (Oops! He actually played banjo for the singing governor.)
Personal digression: Despite his lengthy western-swing/country music résumé, I didn’t become aware of Johnny Gimble until the late 1960s. It was on a record called Make a Joyful Noise by a wild tribe of hippies called Mother Earth, led by a rich-throated blues belter named Tracy Nelson and a warbling poet named R.P. St. John.