April 25, 1915 – Aug 25, 2000
Cliff Bruner was a pioneer of Western swing, becoming one of the most influential musicians in the history of Texas country music. Bruner was born in Texas City on April 25, 1915, grew up in Tomball, and forged his early music career in the Golden Triangle.
At the age of 12, Bruner decided that he didn't want to pick cotton anymore, so he bought himself a fiddle. As a teenager he traveled around the country trying to start a band. He was asked to join Milton Brown's band the Musical Brownies in 1935 at age 20.
Two years later in Houston, Bruner formed the Texas Wanderers. The group also featured steel guitarist Bob Dunn, mandolin player Leo Raley, guitarist and singer Dickie McBride, pianist and singer Moon Mullican, and bass player Hezzy Bryant. The Wanderers became a top performing attraction in Houston and then shifted to Beaumont where they played live radio shows three times daily. Recording with Decca records, the group scored a national hit with Floyd Tillman's "It Makes No Difference Now." Bruner continued to perform into the 1970s and appeared in the 1984 movie Places in the Heart.