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Farewell to Texas Troubadour Steven Fromholz

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Steven Fromholz at the Texas Book Festival in 2007.
Larry D. Moore
Steven Fromholz at the Texas Book Festival in 2007.

Texas songwriter and wordsmith Steven Fromholz died in a hunting accident this past Sunday, Jan. 19, at age 68, when a rifle he was handling on a feral hog hunt near Eldorado, south of San Angelo, fell and discharged. According to legacy.com, Fromholz’ funeral will be held at 2 p.m. this Friday at the Ft. McKavett Cemetery near San Angelo.

Born in Temple and educated at the University of North Texas in Denton, Fromholz became one of the founding fathers of Texas folk and country, performing everywhere from Houston’s Anderson Fair to Terlingua’s Starlight Theater in Big Bend, where he periodically worked as a raft guide on the Rio Grande. His long-out-of-print debut From Here to There, with Dan McCrimmon, laid the groundwork for a sound that would be built on by a subsequent generation of Texas songwriters including Lyle Lovett, who covered Fromholz’ “Bears” and “Texas Trilogy”—a three-part ode to the tiny town of Kopperl, Texas, in Bosque County, comprising “Daybreak,” “Train Ride” and “Bosque County Romance”—on 1998′s Step Inside This House album. Willie Nelson, John Denver, Hoyt Axton and Jerry Jeff Walker have also covered Fromholz’ songs.

“Texas Trilogy” was also the inspiration for a book, Texas Trilogy: Life in a Small Texas Town, by writer Craig D. Hillis and photographer Bruce F. Jordan, published by University of Texas Press in 2002 and excerpted in the Observer.

The songs alone are legacy enough to install him in the Texas canon, but Fromholz was an accomplished storyteller in multiple modes. He was named Texas’ Poet Laureate in 2007, the same year TCU Press published his New and Selected Poems.

Remembrance and notice has come from all quarters, including these from the Houston Chronicle, the Houston Press, the Austin American-Statesman, the Austin Chronicle, and the Big Bend Sentinel.

The Dallas Morning News published this photo essay of late-career Fromholz.

But perhaps the best way to remember him is just to listen.

 

  • madewar

    Listening to Steve is a little like being around the campfire at the Kerrville Folk Festival. We’ll miss him like we miss Alan Damron…

  • http://www.attorneymatthewsrbark.com/criminal-defense/ Matthews Bark Criminal Defense

    The portraits in Texas Troubadours are as genuine and soulful as the musicians themselves. When you look into these faces, you see lives that, as Kinky Friedman says, have known “the road, the cheap motels, the beer joints and half-filled houses, the days when our autographs were bouncing, the long nights of pain and beauty beyond words and music.”