Renowned singer-songwriter Steve Fromholz died of an accidental gunshot wound sustained Sunday (Jan. 19) a ranch near San Angelo, Texas, as he was preparing to hunt wild hogs. He was 68.
Although not known widely outside his home state, his songwriting earned the admiration of such stars as Willie Nelson, John Denver, Lyle Lovett, Jerry Jeff Walker and Hoyt Axton, all of whom recorded his songs.
His greatest commercial success as a songwriter came with Nelson’s 1976 recording of his “I’d Have to Be Crazy,” which rose to No. 11 on the country charts. Lovett recorded Fromholz’s “Texas Trilogy” and “Bears” on his 1998 album Step Inside This House, a tribute to his favorite Texas songwriters.
As a singer and musician, Fromholz performed with Michael Martin Murphey and Stephen Stills and teamed with Dan McCrimmon in the folk duo Frummox.
Although he recorded for Capitol Records and a number of independent labels, including his own Felicity imprint, Fromholz never scored a national hit as a recording artist. Even so, he was a much-admired live performer in Texas, where he also worked as a playwright, actor and whitewater rafting guide. The state named him its official poet laureate in 2007.
Law officers said Fromholz was shot Sunday afternoon on a ranch in Eldorado and died at a nearby hospital. He was apparently moving a gun when it fell, hit the ground and discharged.