Aaron Thibeaux Walker was born in Linden, Texas on Amy 28. 1910, his parents were both musicians and he was an only child. His nickname T-Bone came from a twist on his middle name, as his mother used to call him Tebow. He was raised in Dallas, exposed to music as a youngster by his stepfather, who taught him guitar, as well as ukulele, banjo, violin, mandolin, and piano. The house was a constant source of music and inspiration, and he played locally with his stepfather as street musicians. He spent a lot of time listening to the radio and records of blues artists like Leroy Carr and his guitarist Scrapper Blackwell, and would go see bluesman Lonnie Johnson live in the Dallas area. His major influence would be close family friend Blind Lemon Jefferson, who was always at the house. The young T-Bone was his protégé and would guide him around town for his gigs.
By the 1920’s he had become proficient enough as an all around performer that he was playing talent shows, carnivals, street parties, local dances, and with touring shows that rolled through town. He hooked up with several of these and one had blues singer Ida Cox on the bill. By age sixteen he was a professional, and was making a decent living playing music. In 1929 he won a talent show under the auspice of Cab Calloway, and joined his band briefly. This led to enough local recognition, for Columbia to record his “Trinity River Blues” and “Wichita Falls Blues” under the name of Oak Cliff T-Bone. This was a spin on his Dallas neighborhood at the time. He started a band named Lawson Brooks, playing all over the Dallas area, and also had a little pick up band with friend Charlie Christian. By 1933 he was touring non stop with various bands and revues, and moved to California in 1934. He would go on to state that he was hearing about and got into amplified guitar in California around 1935 which is in line with the development of the same. T-Bone developed a unique method of playing, in that he would hold the guitar slanting it away from him. While a member of the Les Hite Orchestra in 1939 he developed his long hornlike guitar style, and had become quite an accomplished vocalist. It was while with Les Hite that he would record “T-Bone Blues”, the song that would catapult him into a major star of the 1940’s and change the course of popular music.