BooksGo check out Don's show on the Ernest Tubb Midnite Jamboree! Follow this link and then scroll down til you see Don's picture, and click on it. http://etrecordshop.com/mj.htm
- Oct 4, 2009 8:06 PM Last Tour DVD for sale
- Jun 19, 2009 9:32 PM Playlist Songs
- Aug 12, 2008 3:55 PM Don Helms Obituary
- Jul 19, 2007 6:32 AM DON HELMS CAREER CELEBRATED AT COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME
- Jul 19, 2007 5:47 AM DON HELMS ROCKS ET'S MIDNITE JAMBOREE
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About me:As a member of Hank Williams’ Drifting Cowboys, Don Helms achieved legendary status as one of the most important sidemen in country music. The sound of Helms’ precise yet bluesy steel guitar on “Your Cheatin’ Heart,” “Cold, Cold Heart,” “I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still in Love with You)” and numerous other Hank Williams hits helped usher in a honky-tonk sound that would define country music for years to come.
Using a high E6 tuning, Helms’ direct, hard-edged playing perfectly complemented Williams’ stark lyrics and simple chord changes. The licks resonated sharply from his 1949 Fender Pro amplifier creating a distinct “Helms sound” that elevated him and Williams to the status of other great instrumentalist-singer duos like Bashful Brother Oswald and Roy Acuff, and Little Roy Wiggins and Eddy Arnold.
In addition to playing on numerous Hank Williams cuts and on Ray Price’s early 1950s hits, Helms’ session credits include classic recordings such as Lefty Frizzell’s “Long Black Veil,” Patsy Cline’s “Walkin’ After Midnight,” and Stonewall Jackson’s “Waterloo.” Helms has also toured and recorded with country music legends including Johnny Cash, Ferlin Husky, Loretta Lynn, Webb Pierce, Jim Reeves, Ernest Tubb and the Wilburn Brothers.
Born on a small farm in New Brockton, Alabama, Helms was the oldest of three boys. By age 12 he was playing music and cultivating his style on a Dobro owned by an aunt on his mother’s side who exposed Helms to Hawaiian instrumentation. Helms was also captivated by Leon McAuliffe’s amplified style with Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, and he bought his first electric steel guitar at age 15, a Silvertone from Sears. Without electricity on the farm, Helms played the instrument on an upended washtub, which reverberated loud enough for him to practice.
With encouragement from his role model, “Pappy” Neal McCormick, and under the tutelage of steel guitarist Clyde “Boots” Harris, an 18-year-old Helms formed the Alabama Rhythm Boys with guitarist Sammy Pruett. The band eventually backed then-local radio personality Hank Williams as the Drifting Cowboys in honky-tonks and schoolhouses across southern Alabama. A year later, in 1945, Helms was drafted by the army and was forced to quit the group.
After returning from the service, Helms turned down Hank Williams’ offer to play Shreveport's Louisiana Hayride in 1948 in favor of a higher-paying gig in a skating rink in Andalusia, Alabama. Helms had replaced steel guitarist Clyde “Boots” Harris (who left to rejoin Curley Williams and the Georgia Peach Pickers in California) in the Harris Brothers band.
Hank Williams predicted he would become a member of the Grand Ole Opry, and he made Helms promise to join him one day on the broadcast. True to both their words, Helms joined what would become the most famous edition of the Drifting Cowboys in 1949 after Williams became a fixture on the Opry.
After Williams passed away, Helms went on to back Ray Price, Ferlin Husky, the Wilburn Brothers, Loretta Lynn, Hank Williams Jr. and others. In 1977 he joined the reestablished Drifting Cowboys, which culminated in a performance honoring Hank Williams’ impact on American music at the Smithsonian Institution in 1980. Helms was inducted into the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame in 1984 and has played behind Williams’ daughter, Jett Williams, since 1989. Now approaching his eightieth birthday, Helms remains active and continues to play gigs. He has been married to wife Hazel for over 61 years.
"Without question, Don Helms is one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century and beyond. The sound of his steel guitar is as much a part of our atmosphere as the wind, trains, or church bells. The intros to Hank Williams' "Your Cheatin' Heart" and Patsy Cline's "Walkin' After Midnight" are but two of the timeless passages provided by Helms as offerings to the American musical landscape. Don Helm's legacy will not only be as one of the founding fathers of Country Music, but also as one of the truest gentlemen to ever walk the face of the earth. He is a master in every sense of the word."-Marty Stuart
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Who I'd like to meet:
- Status: Married
- Hometown: New Brockton, Alabama
- Orientation: Straight
- Religion: Christian - other
- Zodiac Sign: Pisces
- Children: Proud parent
- Education: High school