- Biography, Music, Arts, and Culture
This film honors a pioneering artist, songwriter, activist, actor, rancher, river guide and Poet Laureate, as a new audience discovers and falls in love with Steven Fromholz - "The Man with the Big Hat."
- Show treatment
Stumbling upon Steven Fromholz in the pages of history, one might observe that a stint of bad luck early in his burgeoning career stunted his path toward stardom. But upon closer look, we see that every decision he made was intentional, and more often than not, it was not luck but love that drove him, be it for a woman, a city, a river, or a cause. Believing “we make most of our own luck” and “being in the right place at the right time” emphasizes Steve’s innate optimism that rings out in every tune. “All songs are love songs,” Steven mused. Indeed, his immense love for his audience and places along the way is ever present in his songwriting.
Jokingly claiming to be a “rumor in [his] own time,” Steven shares and even steals the stage alongside legends Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Jerry Jeff Walker and Stephen Stills. From Madison Square Garden to on set with Peter Fonda to expertly rafting the Rio Grande to the campaign trail, all places Fromholz not only thrived, but was a natural. Unlike most musicians, Steven possessed an innate ability to entertain; a golden key that empowered Fromholz to follow his intuition through a series of experiences. All the while remaining true to his character, because he did it not for the fame or fortune, but “for the lovin’ of the game.”
Growing up in a particular time in American history, akin to the film “American Graffiti” recalled Fromholz, allowed Steven the freedom to pursue his passion, whether that be a folk singer in San Francisco, to a bellhop in Arizona, or to being a river guide on the Texas and Mexico border. Each decision Steven confidently made. The idea of self exploration seems to be a transient one, but through Steven’s experiences the audience will understand that all one needs is the right attitude and confidence to follow their calling.
Being at the forefront of an explosion of self expression and creativity Fromholz seemed to be the epitome of this blossoming revolution. Yet, decades after this pivotal period in music and cultural convergence, Steven Fromholz isn’t exactly a household name. Outside of Texas and parts of the Southwest one would be hard-pressed to find one familiar with the name Steven Fromholz. But upon closer examination, one soon realizes that Steven is a crucial lynchpin in the proper telling of American Country and Folk music. His monumental yet under-sung contributions cannot go unheralded for the inspirational precedent they set for future generations.
“I've got to go out and DO to write songs, and look around,” Fromholz once said. “Do” is exactly what Steven did. Naturally following his curiosity, Fromholz leaves behind a legacy that most would marvel at. No adventure goes without a song or a story.
From the banks of Rio Grande to the neon lights of Nashville to the high country of Colorado, this is a journey back in time told in a Kodachrome palette through the songs and stories of Steven Fromholz. Interweaving interviews with those who knew, admired and loved the man with rare and evocative archival footage, the film’s strong sense of place takes audiences deep into relationships, former homes, the wilds of nature, river rapids and into small towns, all sources from which Fromholz drew inspiration.
It is precisely those moments in time that are reimagined through a melded lens of archival and present day footage. Coloring outside the lines, this is unlike traditional documentaries as this is intended to be a venture seen through Fromholz’ eyes.
Along the winding Rio Grande, we “sit on the bank, let our minds go blank, and let the rest of the world go by;” we visit that “little bar in Arizona, on a sultry Summer day;” and we “run down to the depot to listen to the whistle when the train pulls into Kopperl.” Words originally written on paper come to life, encompassing the audience and enabling them to envision his far-flung adventures.
A 1950 Martin guitar named “Leonard”, a quaint log cabin nestled at 8500 feet in the Rocky Mountains, and a dimly lit stage in a uniquely original listening room in Houston, Texas: integral places that when woven together illustrate the larger-than-life figure that was Steven Fromholz, and the inspirations that led his life.
This documentary is “a love story of it’s own composure” that will honor a pioneering artist, activist, actor, writer, river guide and Poet Laureate, as a new audience discovers and falls in love with
“The Man with the Big Hat.”
- in production
- Austin Sayre ... Director
- Brian Easley ... Producer
- Prod. Co.
- Three Chords And The Truth
- United States
- Years of Production
- Texas, Colorado, etc.
- Prod. Partners
- Austin Sayre, Brian Easley
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