Bob Wills was hugely popular into the ’50s and outdrew Tommy Dorsey and Benny Goodman. But music tastes eventually changed and his popularity plummeted until poor health forced Wills to disband the group in 1963. In 1973 Merle Haggard seduced Bob back into a recording studio, but it was too late. The effort caused Bob to have a stroke, which put him into a coma lasting until he passed away on May 13, 1975.

Jim Martin’s tribute choice was a First Generation Colt SAA in .45 Colt that came to life under the “Blue Dome” in 1905, the same year Bob Wills was born. The finish on the revolver was reconditioned by Jim and Bill Adair. Bill Adair was also the engraver. Like many other Texas Colts, the revolver is covered with Texas brands from the areas where Bob lived and worked. Unlike other cattle-brand Colts, none of the brands are placed straight.

Martin’s reason? Brands are never straight on cattle so why should they be straight on the gun? The top of the backstrap sports Bob’s signature fiddle and bow as well as his birth and death dates and name. The grips are a story in themselves. When Jim Martin lived in Cave Creek, Arizona he noticed the removal of a massive mesquite tree. Too late to salvage the tree trunk from the landfill, Martin was permitted to take the 2,000-lb. root ball. After years of cutting, drying, and the use of lapidary tools, Martin used the wood to fashion beautifully unique grips.

Like Jim Martin’s gun handling, there is one last spin — Jim Martin’s brand, the JRM Connected is prominently displayed on the frame.

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