RIP Steve Fromholz


Steve Fromholz was never the biggest name, but the influence he and his songs  had on the biggest names of his heyday still reverberate in the present.  To that end, while the records he recorded and released on his own never found wide acclaim, artists such as Willie Nelson, Jerry Jeff Walker and Lyle Lovett took Fromholz’s creations to worldwide audiences.  Fromholz was purely Texan and had a knack for making every lyric drip with his quintessential Texan-ness.  There was a constant mystical whimsy under the surface of Fromholz’s songs.

Fromholz’s musical career began when he attended North Texas and met Michael Martin Murphey.  Together they knocked around in various musical formations before Fromholz did a hitch in the Navy. After the Navy, Fromholz found some minor success based out of Colorado as part of a duo called Frummox.  The most fruitful moment to come out of this incarnation was Fromholz’s legendary “Texas Trilogy”, where he uses three songs to tell three seemingly unrelated stories of small-town Texas, that in fact have more in common than they or the listeners may ever truly know.

After bouncing around various scenes, tours and bands, Fromholz found his way home to Texas in the early-mid 70’s.  It was here that his unique and entertaining style bent the ears of such rising, local luminaries as Nelson and Walker.

It would be Nelson’s cover of “I’d Have To Be Crazy” that would bring Fromholz his greatest renown.  The modern generation of Texas Music fans grew to know the Fromholz legend through his appearances at the Larry Joe Taylor fest and Cory Morrow’s recording of “I’d Have To Be Crazy” on the Songs We Wish We’d Written album.  Fromholz rode the wave of that success for the rest of the 70’s.  Throughout the 80’s and 90’s, Fromholz recorded and performed more sporadically while finding great pleasure in ventures outside the music business.  The crowning achievement of Fromholz’s career was in 2007, when the Texas State Legislature named him the Poet Laureate of Texas.  We’d all have to be crazy to fall out of love with what Steven Fromholz meant to the music of Texas and its greater culture at large.  A true Texas treasure and legend is gone.

Brad Beheler

Raised in Waco, refined in the Hill Country, escaped from DFW. I've worked in just about every facet of the music business for 20 years. I like to write about it all. e-mail Brad Editor-in-Chief

59 thoughts on “RIP Steve Fromholz

  • January 19, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    Such a good article. Thanks

  • January 19, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    So sad. May he rest in peace.

  • January 19, 2014 at 9:59 pm

    You will be greatly missed!

  • January 19, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    Rest well my dear friend, brother in song! You will be missed by so many. A sad day in Texas!

  • January 19, 2014 at 10:21 pm

    So sad to hear sod the passing of a great hero and friend! Will be missed brother!

  • January 19, 2014 at 11:09 pm

    Tremendous loss for Texas music, and for Texas herself as a whole.

  • January 20, 2014 at 12:12 am

    Steven’s true spirit couldn’t really be duplicated on a record – you had to see him perform live, listen to the stories, experience the repartee with the audience. As a UT student in the 70’s, I got to have that experience over 100 times. No two shows were ever the same. I’m so sad to learn of his passing.

  • January 20, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    Adios, Your songs live on.

  • January 20, 2014 at 9:17 pm

    He will live forever in his music – which was what his life was all about and for that we thank him and will always remember such a lovely soul – what a sweet to have live a life, he made a difference.

  • March 30, 2014 at 9:05 pm

    Thank you so very much for your accurate reporting and gentle insight on the life and death of my brother, Steven Fromholz.

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