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Don Helms
Born:  February 28, 1927
Died:  August 11, 2008
Steel Guitar Hall of Fame (1984)

The steel guitar of Don Helms is one of the most important features in the music of Hank Williams Sr. It's hard to imagine songs like "Cold, Cold Heart", "Hey Good Looking" or "Your Cheatin' Heart" without the crisp, clear sound of Don's steel guitar.

Numerous steel guitar players have tried to imitate his style. Even today's top notch studio players come back to use Don's intros and solos when it comes to record a Hank Williams song.

After Hank's passing on January 1, 1953, Don continued to work with the Drifting Cowboys. The band was renamed "Cherokee Cowboys" and started to work with a young hillbilly singer by the name of Ray Price.

Don also started working in the studios. His steel guitar sound can be heard on the records of such stars as Loretta Lynn, the Wilburn Brothers, Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline. One of the most famous records he was on was Patsy Cline's million selling "Walkin' After Midnight".

Don is still active appearing at Steel Guitar Shows around the country, he is still playing his famous Gibson Console, the same guitar he used on all those unforgettable Hank Williams Records.

Credits & Sources

  • Hillbilly-Music.com wishes to express its appreciation and thanks to Walter F. Stettner of Vienna, Austria for contributing this article on Herb to get us started on documenting Don Helms' career as well as the photo enclosed with the article. Walter is also a steel guitarist and a serious country music collector. He can be contacted at walter.stettner@chello.at.

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