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

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