Don Markham, longtime horn player in Merle Haggard's band, the Strangers, and one of the iconic entertainer's closest friends, died Friday, February 24th of undisclosed causes in
Haggard's son Ben shared a candid photo and appreciation of Markham on Instagram, saying, "If you don't recognize him by his face, I guarantee you will recognize him by his sound."
Markham, who played on nearly every Haggard recording from 1974 on, played saxophone and trumpet. He had a jazz and pop background, previously performing with Sly & the Family Stone and the Ventures, as well as the Buck Owens-founded Bakersfield Brass. He spent six years as trumpet player at
In a 2004 interview with Rolling Stone, the Country Music Hall of Famer recalled a conversation with
"Don said, 'You know, we're gonna be doing that in the next few years,'" Haggard recalled. "I thought about that all night, Don. I thought you could have said the next few hours and probably been right."
"Dyin'!" Merle shouted. "Everybody's doin' it!"