There are a lot of musicians whose music I know, but whose names I don’t. I’ve come to know some of the people behind the music, thanks to a recent series of documentaries and videos on the Muscle Shoals studio musicians, LA’s Wrecking Crew, bassist Carol Kaye and the backup singers featured in “Twenty Feet from Stardom.”
For me, fiddler Johnny Gimble falls into this category. I’ve probably heard him playing off and on for over 40 years–with the cast of “Hee Haw,” on my college roommate’s Bob Wills and Asleep at the Wheel records, on “Austin City Limits” or “The Prairie Home Companion.” And who knows how many other Nashville recordings I’ve heard him on.
But while Gimble (May 30, 1926-May 9, 2015) may have been a stranger to me, he obviously was no secret to the country elite. And he was no stranger to awards, either, having racked up five Best Instrumentalist Awards from the Country Music Awards, nine Best Fiddler Player awards from the Academy of Country Music and two GRAMMY Awards for collaborations he did with Asleep At The Wheel.