February 28th, 1927 to August 11th, 2008

Steel Guitar Hall of Fame Inductee 1984

One of Hank Williams Drifting Cowboys, also played for Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Hank Williams, Jr., Lefty Frizzell, and Johnny Cash.

BURIAL:  Music Row section in Forest Lawn Memorial Gardens, Goodlettsville, Tennessee









As the above concert ticket shows, I was lucky enough to witness a live performance by the great Don Helms and get a chance to meet and briefly talk with him afterwards.  It was during a tour that he was involved in that featured Hank Williams' daughter Jett Williams.  She was the daughter Hank fathered out of wedlock who fought a long legal battle with Hank Williams, Jr.,  eventually winning half of the Hank Williams estate.  Unfortunately, she did not inherit her father's talent.  Jett was responsible, though, for bringing the steel guitar giant of country music, Don Helms, to the Minneapolis area so that I could witness first hand that wailing, lonesome sound.  As in the above video, Don played a solo rendition of Cold, Cold Heart.  I believe that some of my neck hairs have still not gone back down.  It was spellbinding, heartbreaking, and transported the audience back to the time of Hank Williams.  Afterwards I shook his hand and thanked him for all of the music he had brought the world.  He was a down-to-earth man who seemed a little uncomfortable getting compliments.  We didn't have much time together, there was quite a line waiting for him, but he did relay to us that Hank Williams was not a  big fan of recording and would do whatever he could to get the hell out as fast as possible.  That is probably why Williams was so great in the studio.  That, and a sideman who was pretty good at the steel guitar. - Todd


Don's grave is just a few feet away from Cowboy Copas', Hawshaw Hawkins', and Randy Hughes' graves.

All three perished in the plane crash that took the life of Patsy Cline.



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