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Don Helms' Gizzard Fest

Don Helms' Gizzard Fest One beautiful Spring morning back in 1996 Don said to me, “I'm

One beautiful Spring morning back in 1996 Don said to me, “I'm cookin' up a bunch of gizzards and invitin' a bunch of people. Y’all come over, Hoss?”

The thought of a bunch of gizzards doesn't sound all that appealing

to most people.

But I said, “sounds like a Gizzard Fest to me!”

So So I headed

over to Don's house picturing a bowl full of greasy, chewy, tasteless chicken

innards sitting in the middle of his kitchen table.

But when I arrived, I was pleasantly surprised to see the house brimming with the best musicians, songwriters, and Artists Nashville had to offer.

It smelled damn near heavenly in there! It was the food, not the musicians.

And so began the first annual Don Helms' Gizzard Fest.

You can see from the above picture that Don was a world class gizzard chef. It's

true that he snitched the recipe from the Preacher down the road. But he added the ultimate ingredient of Don Helms-ness to the vitals, and to the unique event.

true that he snitched the recipe from the Preacher down the road. But he added the

Here's Don, Me, and Hall of Fame songwriter Hal Bynum. We were working on an album together at the time. Please note that Hal would only eat organic food, which left him clean out of luck at a Gizzard Fest.

Still it was the inaugural Festival of Gizzards. A day that we looked forward to for years to come.

Some of Don's famous guests included Hit Songwriter Johnny Russell and Country Music Ambassador Marty Stuart. Although, on each of those auspicious occasions, Miss Hazel cooked up some medium rare steaks for them, while the rest of us dined on gourmet gizzards!

Don, Marty Stuart and Marty' steel guitar player after a fishing excursion. Don't see too many

Don, Marty Stuart and Marty' steel guitar player after a fishing excursion. Don't see too many fish?

Hit songwriter Johnny Russell stopped by, and the lovely Miss Hazel cooked him a sirloin steak

Hit songwriter Johnny Russell stopped by, and the lovely Miss Hazel cooked him a sirloin steak with mashed potatoes and gravy!

Don was still playing Shows in his 80's, and liked to tell the story about how Hank and the Drifting Cowboys used to stop at people's houses on their way to a gig and get fed all kinds of food. “But when we do that now, people say, 'I see you've already eaten!'”

Below you can find a current picture of Don and Hazel Helms. They were friends

from childhood, High School sweethearts, and husband and wife

...

pretty much a

long and loving lifetime together. The proverbial two peas in a pod who loved each other every day as if it was the very first moment when they fell in love.

You can tell by the genuine smile on their faces that they loved each other, they loved life, and that it was a joy to share it with everyone they met.

That's what you instantly felt when you walked in the front door of their home in Hendersonville, Tennessee. Whether it was just dropping by to say 'hey'. Or you were attending the now world renowned Don Helms Gizzard Fest.

Simple times, salt of the earth people, good food and great friends friend was the Don
Simple times, salt of the earth people, good food and great friends
friend was the Don Helms Gizzard Fest.
...
that
my

All the best to you and yours.

See a vintage photo of Don and Hazel below:

See a vintage photo of Don and Hazel below: Don and Hazel

Don and Hazel