This collection consists of material related to the life and work of Steven Fromholz, original Outlaw country music member, Texas Music Legends Hall of Fame inducted singer-songwriter, published author and 2007 Texas Poet Laureate.
Scope and Contents of the Materials
This collection contains articles, artifacts, awards, books, certificates, clippings, correspondence, drafts, memorabilia, photographs, poems, personal papers, writings, and publications such as newspapers, periodicals, and programs, as well as audiovisual and born-digital materials related to Steven Fromholz’s career as a singer-songwriter, screenwriter, actor, social activist and poet.
Collection Historical Note
Steven Fromholz was born in Temple, Texas on June 8, 1945. After his parents divorced in 1955, he lived with his grandmother, Hirstine "Granny" Hughes in Kopperl, Bosque County, Texas. He moved to Denton, Texas in his adolescence and later attended North Texas State University (currently the University of North Texas) where he was president of the Folk Music Club and formed the group, Dallas County Jug Band with Michael Martin Murphey. In 1967, he joined the Navy and was stationed on the West Coast where he continued to write music and perform. He moved to Arizona after the Navy and then Colorado where he met Dan McCrimmon and created the band, Frummox. In 1969, the pair produced the album, From Here to There, which included his most well-known songwriting accomplishments, The Texas Trilogy. The three-part song; Daybreak, Trainride and Bosque County Romance, was inspired from his time living in Bosque County as a child and is lauded as one of the most definitive songs about the State of Texas. Fellow Texan Lyle Lovett included the three-part song in his 1998 album, Step Inside this House. In 2002, Craig D. Hillis wrote the book Texas Trilogy: Life in a Small Town Texas Town, accompanied with photos by Bruce F. Jordan, which chronicles Fromholz’s early life in Bosque County, his inspiration for writing the song. Later in 2007, Fromholz produced his own book titled Texas Trilogy, which was published by his company, Esteban Publishing.
In 1974, the Frummox duo went their separate ways and Fromholz moved to Austin, Texas. He played guitar and sang back-up for Stephen Stills’ band Manassas, and later for Willie Nelson. His first contribution to Nelson’s music was on the album, Sound in Your Mind. In 1976, he also produced his own album, A Rumour in My Time with Capitol Records, which featured Red Rhodes, Willie Nelson, Doug Dillard, John Sebastian, B.W. Stevenson, and the Lost Gonzo Band. The same year, his song I’d Have to Be Crazy, written and performed by Willie Nelson hit number two on country music charts. In 1977, the success from his first album led him to produce a second album, Frolicking in the Myth. Hoyt Axton, John Denver, and Jeff Jerry Walker also recorded songs written by Fromholz. He established his own music-producing company, Felicity Records, which was named after his youngest daughter. Through Felicity Records, Fromholz continued producing solo albums and songs, as well as musical collaborations throughout his life. In 2003, he was inducted into the Texas Music Hall of Fame. He suffered from a stroke 30 days later, which required a three-year period of re-learning to walk, talk, and play the guitar.
In addition to singing and songwriting, Fromholz took up acting and screenwriting. In 1977, he appeared in the film Outlaw Blues with Peter Fonda and Susan Saint James, which included three of his songs in the movie’s soundtrack. In 1984, he was included in the movie Songwriter with Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson. In 1991, he co-wrote the play, Bosque County, Texas with writer Don Toner. He also appeared in Austin’s Live Oak Theatre’s plays Fiddler on the Roof as Tevye, A Christmas Carol as Ebeneezer Scrooge, The Night Hank Williams Died as Gus Gilbert, Woody Guthrie’s American Song as Woody Guthrie, Sweeney Todd as Judge Turpin, A Little Night Music as Frederick Egerman, and The Immigrant as Milton Perry.
In 2007, he was chosen as the Texas Poet Laureate by the Texas Commission on the Arts. He was the first songwriter to be given the honor. The same year, he produced the book Steven Fromholz: New and Selected Works, part of TCU’s Texas Poets Laureate Series. As Texas Poet Laureate, he dedicated his time visiting schools and libraries all over the state of Texas to promote the Steven Fromholz Texas Poet Laureate Words & Music Program, which emphasized the importance of teaching the humanities and creating poetry, literature, music and art.
Fromholz was known for his love of the outdoors. In the 1980s, he began entertaining on rafting trips in the Big Bend area and was a certified white-water expert, First Responder and Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). In 2005, Paddler Magazine voted him one of the “10 Best River Guides in America.” He was also a horse trail guide at Lajitas Stables in Terlingua, Texas and an advocate for the Texas Parks & Wildlife. Additionally, he was a member of the American Legion in Brewster County, Texas. On January 19, 2014, at age 68, Fromholz died after a fatal injury from a hunting accident on a ranch near his residence in El Dorado, Texas.
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Item 1: Canvas Bag; Image of West Texas Mountains with Text, "Terlingua Medicine Bag for Steve from Friends...We Miss You...In The Big Bend"; See Series 4: Personal Papers, Sub-series: Letters & Correspondence, Folder 4: Correspondence About Fromholz's Medical Relief & Fundraiser, May 2003Request Reading Room AccessRequest Duplication Services