Longtime Merle Haggard and the Strangers Member Don Markham Dead at 85

Longtime Merle Haggard and the Strangers Member Don Markham Dead at 85

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One of country music’s most versatile and highly-regarded musicians has died. Don Markham, who played with Merle Haggard from 1974 until his retirement in 2013, died Friday (Feb. 24) in Oildale, Calif., at the age of 85.

Markham was a multi-instrumentalist and horn player who came up through pop and jazz, but changed course when the music scene in Bakersfield, Calif., where he worked, began to become influential in country music.

“I was starting to move around and thinking about going to work in country music,” Markham said in an interview at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville in 2012, during the opening of an exhibit devoted…



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