This Week in Texas Music History: Cliff Bruner
This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll remember a fiddler who was already turning heads at the age of five.
Cliff Bruner died on August 25, 2000. Born in Texas City, Texas, on April 25, 1915, Bruner was only five when he began playing fiddle for his friends and family. By 1935, he had joined Milton Brown and His Musical Brownies, a popular Texas band that helped define the western swing sound. After Milton Brown died in 1936, Bruner moved to Houston and started his own group, Cliff Bruner and His Texas Wanderers. The band, which included Bob Dunn, Moon Mullican, J.R. Chatwell, and several other A-list musicians, continued to blend country, jazz, swing, and blues to produce some of the biggest hits in western swing.
Cliff Bruner recorded a number of other hit songs, but he retired from music in the 1950s in order to care for his ailing wife. Bruner spent the remainder of his life selling insurance and occasionally performing, but he left a mark on Texas music that can still be heard today.
Next time on This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll commemorate the Lone Star State’s own version of the Woodstock Festival.