UPDATED: Remembering Steve Fromholz: The Poet Laureate of Texas Music

Categories: Texas Me

Fromholz was a fixture on the Houston scene for years, frequently playing Anderson Fair. Lyle Lovett, part of the second generation of Anderson Fair artists who would soar to stardom, was a big Fromholz fan who covered "Trilogy" on Step Inside This House, in which Lovett paid homage to his influences. Lovett also covered Fromholz's "Bears" on the album.

Rocks Off last saw Fromholz play in May, 2005 at Anderson Fair. He was recovering from a heart attack at the time, and was on a writer-in-the-round bill with Vince Bell, who had recovered from a traumatic brain injury, and the irascible Eric Taylor, who had also suffered a heart attack. They billed the show as "The Flatliners" and it became an evening of jokes, jests, teasing and love.

Fromholz was in fine form that night, dropping his usual long-winded, hilarious tall tales to the absolute delight of the audience which had come not to admire but to adore all three performers, but Fromholz in particular. He was already recognized as an elder statesman.

The final time we encountered Fromholz was when he came to Anderson Fair to hear Mark Germino in 2008. Fromholz, who had driven over from Austin for the occasion, had recently been appointed poet laureate and he caused quite a stir when he entered the room. Even after some years out of the performing limelight, he was an instantly recognizable figure to the hip crowd at the Fair that night. When he walked in, it was like Sam Houston had entered the room.

So it's so long to the man in the big hat. Brother, you were real.


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Always loved his Anderson Fair appearances, way better than the recordings. One time he came out and got pelted with a LOT of stuffed animals (monkeys?) by fans. They had heard the story about a certain river raft trip which had a windup doll monkey (or something) that did the Macarena, music included. As the story goes, late in the evening and after about the sixth repeat (and probably more longnecks than that), the doll was deposited way out in the middle of the river by the featured singer-songwriter on the trip.

Steve said something about picante sauce, and my wife made the mistake of saying that I bought it by the gallon (true). He heard her, thought for about 15 seconds then made up a song about that guy. Pretty good song, given the time he spent "writing" it.


'When he sang "There's bacon to fry and there's biscuits to bake/ On a stove the Salvation Army won't take," it was like watching The Last Picture Show or Giant. It was as real as a scorpion bite.'--Truth.  Well done Smith.

Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah topcommenter

@ricolocohb took the words out of my mouth…..Again, well done Mr. Smith….

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