Gene Watson's Peers within the country music industry believe in the sheer talent of this unassuming man from east Texas, so much so that Gene is regarded by many of them as 'the singer's singer' - and rightly so!
All of Gene Watson's Peers, who were contacted during 2013, were most gracious with their time and words.
It is here, within this special part of The Gene Watson Fan Site, that you have an opportunity to read a quote from Steven Fromholz, which he submitted to this site on Tuesday 27 August 2013.
Sean Brady would like to take this opportunity to say 'thank you' to Steven Fromholz who made a special contribution to this unique part of this online 'celebration of a Lone Star Hero'.
This quote was submitted on Tuesday 27 August 2013.
'I've never had the pleasure of meeting Gene but have always admired him greatly.
No one else sings like Gene Watson and as to his songwriting...his style is not only interesting but very unique.
Gene's definitely a 'wordsmith'...a talent I admire very much.
In Texas we call men like Gene 'a true original' - meaning there's not another quite like him.
Hopefully, we'll cross paths and I'll get to meet him personally one of these days!'
Thank you, Steven Fromholz, for your support of Gene Watson.
Photos of Steven Fromholz within this feature are courtesy of George Brainard, Austin, Texas
About Steven Fromholz...
Steven Fromholz was born Steven John Fromholz in Temple, Texas on Friday 8 June 1945 to Lt. Col. and Mrs. A.A. Fromholz.
After being discharged from the Army, Steven's father worked for Ford Motor Company and the family was transferred often. When he was ten years old, Steven's parents divorced and Steven and his little brother, James, lived and attended school, for extended periods of time, with their widowed maternal grandmother, Hirstine 'Granny' Hughes in Kopperl, Bosque County, Texas and their older sister, Angela, who was married and ranching in Bosque County, Texas.
Those memories of small town, central Texas were the inspiration for Steven Fromholz’ song 'The Texas Trilogy', which has been long recognised as the most definitive song ever written about the state of Texas.
Lyle Lovett recorded the three-part saga, 'Daybreak/Train Ride/Bosque County Romance' on 'Step Inside This House' (MCA Records, 1998), which was a tribute album to his favourite Texas songwriters.
Lyle Lovett's 'Step Inside This House' (MCA Records, 1998) also included Steven Fromholz' 'Bears'.
The poetry/writing style Steven Fromholz exhibited in 'The Texas Trilogy' is taught in many classrooms as being authentic, Texas poetry, both in style and content.
Steven Fromholz was often invited to speak to college groups and poetry societies, not only about 'The Texas Trilogy', but other examples of his historically oriented writing, such as 'Man With The Big Hat' and 'Last Living Outlaw'.
Steven Fromholz’s mother eventually settled with her sons in Denton, Texas where Steven graduated from high school and attended North Texas State University. Thereafter a stint in the United States Navy sent him to the west coast where he began to write poetry, music, play clubs and subsequently launched his music career after finishing his day’s work for Uncle Sam. It has been said that Steven Fromholz and long-time friend Ramblin’ Jack Elliott cut a wide swath in the west coast music scene in those days.
Steven Fromholz married, his daughter Darcie Jane was born and, upon being discharged from the Navy, Steven moved his young family briefly to Arizona.
When his marriage ended in divorce, Steven moved on to Colorado, where he teamed up with Dan McCrimmon and the pair performed as 'Frummox.
Steven Fromholz and Dan McCrimmon saw the release of one album, 'Frummox Here To There' (ABC Probe Records, 1969), which today is a valuable vinyl collector’s item. Steven and Dan eventually went their separate ways; Steven then accepted Stephen Stills’ invitation to play guitar and sing backup vocals, on a world tour, with the group that became 'Manassas'.
When rock 'n' roll wore thin on Steven Fromholz, he briefly returned to Colorado, married again and headed home to Texas; he settled in Austin where his second daughter, Felicity Rose Fromholz, was born.
Steven Fromholz literally became a Texas legend during the ensuing Austin years, not only for his songwriting, poetry and performing, but as a community activist. In 1993, he organised a peaceful mooning of the KKK, which made headlines all over the world, became a standard for opponents of the Klan and has been repeated over and over in the ensuing years by many activist groups.
Steven Fromholz and his good friend, the late Molly Ivins, gathered up a group of friends and camped out on the steps of the Texas State Capitol when the powers-that-be threatened to arrest the homeless street people of Austin, who were sleeping under bridges. They staged a peaceful 'sleep in' complete with little camp fires and their efforts were very effective. No one was arrested and the homeless, thereafter, were able to keep sleeping wherever they could find a place to 'crash'.
In 1977, Capitol Records released the soundtrack for the movie 'Outlaw Blues', which starred Peter Fonda and Susan Saint James.
Musicians involved in the recording of the 'Outlaw Blues' (Caitol Records, 1977) soundtrack album included the following:
Hoyt Axton (Friday 25 March 1938 - Tuesday 26 October 1999) (vocal)
Steven Fromholz (vocal)
Jerry Jeff Walker (tambourine)
Jim Keltner (drums)
Jeff Baxter (ex-Steely Dan & The Doobie Brothers) (electric guitar)
Robben Ford (acoustic guitar)
George Clinton (acoustic piano)
Doug Dillard (of The Dillards) (banjo)
Richard Greene (fiddle)
Artists and tracks on the 'Outlaw Blues' (Caitol Records, 1977) soundtrack album included the following:
Steve Fromholz: 'Everybody's Goin' On The Road' (written by Steve Fromholz)
Peter Fonda: 'Jailbirds Can't Fly'
Peter Fonda and Susan Saint James: 'I Dream Of Highways', which was written by Hoyt Axton (Friday 25 March 1938 - Tuesday 26 October 1999)
'Outlaw On The Run' (instrumental)
Steve Fromholz: 'Beyond These Walls', which was written by Hoyt Axton (Friday 25 March 1938 - Tuesday 26 October 1999)
Peter Fonda: 'Outlaw Blues' (written by John Oates)
'Love Theme from Outlaw Blues' (instrumental)
Peter Fonda: 'Water For My Horses', which was written by Hoyt Axton (Friday 25 March 1938 - Tuesday 26 October 1999)
Hoyt Axton (Friday 25 March 1938 - Tuesday 26 October 1999): 'Whisper In A Velvet Night' (written by Lee Clayton)
Steve Fromholz: 'Little More Holy' (written by Steve Fromholz)
In the 1980s, Steven Fromholz began entertaining on rafting trips in the Big Bend area of Texas, subsequently becoming a river guide, white water expert, First Responder and EMT. He 'ran the Grande' (Colorado River/Grand Canyon) in 2000, which was the ultimate accomplishment for whitewater guides, and in 2005, Paddler Magazine voted Steven one of the ten 'Best River Guides in America'.
It was also in the 1980s that Steven Fromholz, along with eleven other well known Texas musicians, were appointed by the Governor of Texas to represent the state in promoting Texas music to the world.
In addition to whitewater trips, Steven Fromholz began hosting trail rides into Mexico, becoming the first 'Singing Cowboy' for LaJitas Stables in Terlingua, Texas. A long-time member of the American Legion in Brewster County, Texas (Big Bend), Steven Fromholz was well known as an advocate for Texas Parks & Wildlife and promoted their programs, facilities and projects at every opportunity.
During his forty-plus year career, Steven Fromholz recorded for a number of record labels, including ABC Probe Records, Capitol Records, Tried & True Records, Willie Nelson’s Lone Star Records and his own Felicity Records.
In November 2011, Steven Fromholz saw the release of 'Steven Fromholz’ Texas Trilogy Goes To G’Nashville' (Laughing Beer Entertainment Records, 2011) on his own Laughing Bear Entertainment Records.
Steven Fromholz appeared in numerous movies, including 'Outlaw Blues' and 'Cloak And Dagger', and also co-starred in the thriller 'Positive ID'. Steven also worked extensively in theatre, including starring roles in 'The Night Hank Williams Died', Woody Guthrie’s 'American Dream', 'Sweeney Todd', 'A Little Night Music' and 'Fiddler On The Roof'. His performance in 'Fiddler On The Roof' was reviewed by Texas Monthly as 'a most unlikely but magnificent Tevye!'
Steven Fromholz also starred in 'Bosque County, Texas' - a stage play he co-authored with Don Toner, which was based on Fromholz’ epic song 'The Texas Trilogy'.
Beyond music and poetry, Steven Fromholz was known for donating his time and energy to charitable organizations in Texas, particularly those benefitting children and the indigent. He was also a strong advocate for stroke/closed-head injury organisations and often spoke/performed to those groups offering encouragement, information and faith-based messages.
In March 2003, Steven Fromholz was inducted into The Texas Music Hall of Fame, and suffered a massive stroke less than thirty days later. After a three-year recuperative period, during which time he again learned to walk, talk, play guitar and sing, literally re-inventing himself, Steven Fromholz returned to writing music, poetry and entertaining publicly. His doctors declared him 'a walking miracle!'
Exactly four years to the very day after the stroke, in 2007, Steven Fromholz stood in the State Capitol of Texas Chambers and was named Poet Laureate of his beloved state of Texas. During his Poet Laureate tenure, he traveled the entire state of Texas, presenting a poetry and music program he designed titled 'Steven Fromholz’ Texas Poet Laureate: Words & Music' for Texas school children.
As a consequence, children all over Texas gained a whole new perspective on poetry, literature, music and the arts.
Steven Fromholz had two daughters, Darcy and Felicity, and was grandfather to Felicity's son Zoe. He lived in West Texas, where he ranched with his companion Susan and where he found his peaceful, beautiful, contented niche in the world.
Steven Fromholz was the consummate poet/singer/songwriter/entertainer and the ultimate Texas gentleman; he was a proven example of hardcore Texas grit and was beloved by fans from babies to great, great, grandparents.
Recognised as one of Texas’ most approachable celebrities, Steven Fromholz was often asked for career advice by young entertainers. Some of his best advice was typical, bottom-line, down-to-earth Fromholz: 'When you’re on stage, change feet often or your back’ll go out!'
'Why is a poet/songwriter/entertainer/musician/humourist with a last name of 'Fromholz' synonymous with the State of Texas? As one Austin reporter put it: 'Fromholz was the only one of the ‘Outlaws' that remained in Texas when the great 'Progressive Country Scare’ was over; he’s as well known to Texans as Barton Springs is to Austin - and been here nearly as long!'
A number of well known entertainers have recorded songs written by Steven Fromholz, including the following:
John Denver (Friday 31 December 1943 - Sunday 12 October 1997) recorded Steven Fromholz's 'Yellow Car' and included the track on 'Rhymes And Reasons' (RCA Victor Records, 1969).
Willie Nelson recorded Steven Fromholz's 'I'd Have To Be Crazy' and included the track on 'The Sound In Your Mind' (Columbia Records, 1976); the track reached No.11 on the Billboard country music singles chart in 1976.
Jerry Jeff Walker recorded Steven Fromholz's 'Man With The Big Hat' and included the track on 'Live At Gruene Hall' (RykoDisc Records, 1989).
Jerry Jeff Walker recorded Steven Fromholz's 'Rockin' On The River' and included the track on 'Navajo Rug' (RykoDisc Records, 1991).
Jerry Jeff Walker recorded Steven Fromholz's 'Singin' The Dinosaur Blues' and included the track on 'Hill Country Rain' (RykoDisc Records, 1991).
Lyle Lovett recorded Steven Fromholz' three-part saga, 'Daybreak/Train Ride/Bosque County Romance', and included the track on 'Step Inside This House' (MCA Records, 1998), which was a tribute album to Lyle Lovett's favourite Texas songwriters.
Lyle Lovett recorded Steven Fromholz' 'Bears' and included the track on 'Step Inside This House' (MCA Records, 1998).
Visit Steven Fromholz' Official Site at stevenfromholz.com
Connect with short story writers, artists and, of course Steven Fromholz' music at stevenfromholzsister.com
Connect with Steven Fromholz at texastrilogy.com
Photos of Steven Fromholz within this feature are courtesy of George Brainard, Austin, Texas
On Sunday 19 January 2014, Sean Brady of The Gene Watson Fan Site, was saddened to hear of the passing of Steven Fromholz, The Texas Poet Laureate.
Steven Fromholz, who was born in Temple, Texas and raised in Kopperl, was hailed as one of Texas country music’s acclaimed songwriters of the 1960s and 1970s. Steven died on Sunday 19 January 2014 on a Schleicher County ranch when a loaded gun hit the ground and went off, its bullet striking and killing Fromholz. Steven was sixty-eight years old.
The Steven Fromholz Memorial Site was created by the Fromholz family to honour the legacy and memory of the beloved Steve Fromholz; you can leave a memory that you would like to share.
Further information about Steven Fromholz services, and the memorial, will be made available later.
Steven John Fromholz
Friday 8 June 1945 - Sunday 19 January 2014