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Don Helms, whose piercing, forceful steel guitar helped define the sound of nearly all of Hank Williams’s hits, and who performed and recorded with a long list of other country greats, died Monday in Nashville. He was 81 and lived in Hendersonville, Tenn. The cause was complications of heart surgery and diabetes, said Marty Stuart, a friend and fellow performer. Mr. Helms played on more than 100 Hank Williams songs and on 10 of his 11 No. 1 country hits. He provided the dirgelike, weeping notes in songs like “I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still in Love With You)” and “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” and added a catchy, propulsive twang to up-tempo numbers like “Jambalaya (On the Bayou)” and “Hey, Good Lookin.’ ” “After the great tunes and Hank’s mournful voice, the next thing you think about in those songs is the steel guitar,” said Bill Lloyd, the curator of stringed instruments at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. “It is the quintessential honky-tonk steel sound — tuneful, aggressive, full of attitude.”
cold cold heart blues stay away from me bye bye blues
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