One year ago Thursday (4-6), on Merle Haggard’s 79th birthday, the country music legend passed away surrounded by close family on his ranch in California. Merle Haggard left a mark on country music that was unparalleled, and his death still leaves a gaping hole in the hearts of many country music fans.
For 40 years, Don Markham was the horn player in Merle Haggard’s backing band, The Strangers. In fact he outlasted every other permanent member in the band, and aside from a few hiatuses throughout the years, was the only constant member. He also played on every single Merle Haggard release since 1974, though you may have not noticed him.