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Who Don Helms
When August 11, 2008
Where Nashville, TN
What Steel player behind Hank Sr. classics, Don Helms, dies at 81
 

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.

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