The last of the original Drifting Cowboys is gone.
Don Helms, a renowned steel player and member
of Hank Williams’ Drifting Cowboys band, died
this morning at age 81 of an apparent heart attack.
Mr. Helms was the last remaining link to the Drifting Cowboys.
His guitar was heard on more than 100 of Williams’ recordings,
including “Your Cheatin’ Heart,” “Cold, Cold Heart” and
“I Can’t Help (It If I’m Still In Love With You).” His steel playing
is an indelible part of those records, and after Williams’ death
Mr. Helms went on to provide significant parts on recordings
such as Patsy Cline’s “Walkin’ After Midnight,”
Stonewall Jackson’s “Waterloo” and Lefty Frizzell’s “Long, Black Veil.”
He played with other greats as well, including Loretta Lynn,
Ernest Tubb, Ray Price, Jim Reeves and Webb Pierce.
Mr. Helms was also a songwriter whose compositions were recorded by
Brenda Lee, Hank Williams Jr. and others.
Mr. Helms was inducted into the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame in 1984,
and remained an active part of Nashville’s music community until his death.
No memorial details have yet been released.
Other Related Articles:
- Steel guitarist put lonely in Hank, Patsy classics—The Tennessean
- Renowned steel guitarist Don Helms dies at 81—The Daily Advertiser (Lafayette, LA)
- Steel guitar legend rings true with country admirers—Louisburg Herald (June 11, 2008)
- Don Helms, 81; steel guitarist for Hank Williams —Los Angeles Times
- Country Music World Mourns 'Drifting Cowboy' Don Helms — Voice of America
- Don Helms, at 81; was steel guitarist for Hank Williams — Boston Globe
- New Brockton native, Hank Williams’ band member dies at 81 — Dothan Eagle
- Celebrated Steel Guitarist Don Helms, 81 — Washington Post
- Don Helms, 81, Who Put the Twang in the Hank Williams Songbook, Is Dead — New York Times
(Note: Some news media sites
require user registration to read articles and/or to send you 'targeted' email