Bobby Christman
Inducted in 2010

Bobby Christman is a well-loved, humble and modest man, full of the Lord’s Grace. About himself, Bobby would say that he was born in Pottsboro, Texas, on Valentine’s Day, 1938, in the north end of an old boxcar that had been made into a house. He was the oldest of four boys in a family of seven children born to Mervin and Edith Christman.

After the 10th Grade, Bobby headed west, to Wichita Falls, to work on a ranch for the next year. “They don’t give days off working cows” so Bobby quit and went to work driving a truck until he joined the Marine Corps when he turned seventeen. After the Marines, Bobby continued driving a truck, then worked as a carpenter for the next ten years until he got a job on the railroad, where he became reacquainted with Omega Burden.

Bobby’s introduction to fiddle music occurred a few years later when his friend, Nonie Lewis, stopped by to tell him “Old Biggun’ (Omega Burden) is having a fiddling at his house.” Bobby went, and would never forget that night: “There was Major Franklin, Benny Thomasson, Norman Solomon and some more I can’t remember, but that was the most awesome music I ever heard.”

After awhile, Omega asked Bobby if he wanted to play “so I made a go of it; I didn’t do well at all. He took the guitar back and said, ‘I’ll show you how to play. If you’ll listen, I’ll teach you to play.’” That started a long process in which Bobby “practiced about two years every day before I could play like he could, but nobody can play like him.” It took Bobby a long time before he was comfortable with playing in contests, but once he started Bobby was almost a fixture at all the big contests, entertaining audiences, helping fiddlers, and helping others learn to play the unique, Texas style of rhythm guitar that is so important to Texas fiddle music.

Bobby and Maybelle are known throughout the United States, having played for many, many years, not only in Hallettsville, but also at the National Oldtime Fiddlers’ Contest in Weiser, Idaho, and at the Grand Master Fiddler Championship in Nashville, Tennessee. Maybelle is Bobby’s true love and a WWII era Gibson “Banner” Southern Jumbo – the Gold Standard among Texas guitarists. This guitar was originally owned and named Maybelle by Bobby’s mentor, the great Omega Burden.

In 1977, Bobby Christman played alongside Jerry Thomasson and Betty Solomon on the Opryland stage, backing-up the fiddling greats Norman and Vernon Solomon, and Benny Thomasson. For the next twenty years, Bobby’s guitar could be heard by audiences within reception of Nashville’s WSM as he returned to annually fulfill his lifelong dream of playing on the Grand Ole Opry.

The Texas-style, guitar sound truly lives on.

 

 

 

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