Texas Trilogy: Life In A Small Texas Town Review


Original Book Review by

Inspired Small Town Texas

Writer Craig Hillis, along with photographer Bruce Jordan, create a nicely done, nostalgic look at life in a small Texas town. The tale is told of the small town of Kopperl, Texas, which is just a minor town in the minor county of Bosque County. (pronounced BOS-key) - about 60 miles southwest of Fort Worth.

The book is inspired by the classic folk music by Stephen Fromholtz, and a series of songs he recorded in 1969. Like the music, the book captures the bittersweet passage of time as the forces of change pass by quiet backwaters.

It is a history, a narrative, and a portrait of a place and another time. Hillis and Jordan offer their own take on Fromholtz's Texas Trilogy. The book contains over 140 photographs of Bosque County, Texas, which captures the mood and spirit of the places described in the songs.

Fromholtz's famous songs in his Texas Trilogy are Daybreak, Trainride, and Bosque County Romance, which were recorded on the 1969 album From Here To There. [Amazon offers a Fromholz collection CD, Come on Down to Texas for a While: The Anthology 1969-1991]

Lyle Lovett recently recorded the songs on his 1998 album Step Inside This House.

The book includes comments from many local residents, who all speak of life in the small Texas town of Kopperl. Fromholtz and Hillis have been friends since they met in 1969. Hillis, a guitarist, has played the Trilogy with Fromholtz on stage "a million times." Hillis has always seen a lot in Fromholtz's work, and it shows throughout the book. Both enjoy the legend of the Texas cowboy, and nostalgic old stores.

One of the interesting events covered in the book is the "Big Heat", a bizarre heat storm in 1960 that lasted five full hours in a small area of the county. The storm contained strong winds and temperatures of over 140 degrees. The event burned crops and property. The event is still unexplained to this day. Some speculate UFOs or military testing.

Hillis discusses the town's history during the Depression and the impact of FDR's New Deal programs. When the government built Lake Whitney in the 1950's, many residents opposed the project because they lost their land. Hillis presents the stories with archive photographs and personal quotes. Texas Trilogy holds much attention to detail in writing, uses a large number of nice photographs, and is nicely bound in hardcover in an over-sized, rectangular shape. It also contains a digitally remastered CD of the original Texas Trilogy recordings by Steven Fromholtz.

Sit down with this book, and enjoy an interesting trip through one small Texas town.

Texas Trilogy is a composition that endures. Like all great songs, "Daybreak", "Trainride," and "Bosque County Romance" stand the test of time and the perpetual recycling of popular culture. They seem to take on greater meaning as the decades slip by and our modern world explodes with growing conflict and confusion. These are tough old tunes, not unlike their author, and this book is an attempt to honor them and explain their cultural significance.

From Texas Trilogy

Bosque County is a historical seedbed for the cowboy myth. The cattle business has always been an important part of Bosque's culture.

The great cattle drives beginning in the late 1860s forever changed the complexion of Bosque's economy and lifestyle. The famous Chisholm Trail ran through the heart of the county, and countless herds from Texas traveled north to Kansas, Wyoming, Montana or points beyond. The cattle industry in Bosque helped popularize a very special type of cowboy: the singing cowboy, a lonely frontier figure whose music and lifestyle would have a profound effect on American culture in the twentieth century. That's not just a tall tale. In the pages that follow, you'll see how one very talented and determined young man from Bosque County helped put the art of the cowboy and other overlooked yet very talented Americans on the cultural map. What follows is the story of John Avery Lomax, one of the greatest folklorists and wthnomusicologists in American history.

From Texas Trilogy

* * *

Texas Trilogy: Life In A Small Texas Town
206 pages
University of Texas Press 2002-10-02
Purchase Book on Amazon.Com