November 8, 2013
With 11,000+ songs written, Roy has had around 700 cuts. Many have Indie Hits by many different artists and charting worldwide in various genres. by various recording artists both independent and of national/international acclaim… Roy August ~ Fancy Free.
Are you one of the 700? Help us create “A Living Biography of Roy August” Leave us a comment below and you will become a part of Roy August’s Living Biography!
Roy August Horstmeyer Born in Granite City, IL on January 30, 1943. Roy was the first-born son of Carl August and Myrtle Jean Horstmeyer. His parents eventually divorced soon after the birth of his sister Sandra Ann Horstmeyer Lester. Custody of Roy was given to his great uncle John Horstmeyer and great grandmother Fannie Horstmeyer where he remained until grown. Roy also has two half brothers named Larry Horstmeyer and Carl Horstmeyer.
Whether musical ability and talent are inherited traits or product of environmental exposure, stimulus and brain development or not is debatable with modern science. However, in the life of Roy August it is both. Indisputably, music is ingrained in the very fiber of everything Roy August was and is today. Music is not new to the name “August.” The heritage of music for the “August” family spans well over a century.
Growing up, Roy was exposed to many tales of the talents of his ancestor and great grandfather August E Horstmeyer. He was initially exposed to the music abilities of his father Carl August and Uncle Roy Horstmeyer, and great grandmother Fannie Katzman Horstmeyer.
Although his sister Sandy passed away in 1985 after years of complications after having a stroke, she was an accomplished pianist and artistic in her own right before her medical condition made it impossible to play again in the mid 1970s.
Roy was born to an extremely talented and artistic family. His namesake for an uncle named Roy, his father’s brother, a drummer in local bands in the St. Louis area. The “August” in Roy’s name being a handed down name for several generations to the first-born son.
Great Grandmother, Fannie Katzman Horstmeyer played guitar and told stories of his great grandfather August E’s band in the early 1900’s. August E had a built quite a reputation in the local area for playing any stringed instrument around. He also taught others to play, wrote songs, and sang. Roy developed a love for music that burned deep into his soul and still resides today.
Carl August Horstmeyer, Roy’s father, was multi instrumental but primarily preferred and played accordion. His band was of a “big band sound” band that played music by such artist covers such as Tommy Dorsey’s “Boogie Woogie.”
At a very early age, Roy remembers making up songs even before learning to play his first guitar. By age, five and six, he was writing songs in his head. Roy received his first guitar at age eight. A Gene Autry guitar was given to him by his Great uncle and guardian John G. Horstmeyer at age 8 years old. He was so happy to learn to play and remembers playing until his fingers bled. Still, he rehearsed every moment he had a chance. That guitar was the first thing he picked up in the morning, and the last thing he put down at night. He was already driven to succeed. Roy recalls learned how to play one string at a time and the first song he learned to play was “Mule Train” by Frani Lane.
By his teen years, Roy was gaining some notoriety with his peers for his musical ability. He was invited to parties where his peers would have him entertain by playing guitar for them.
In 1958, Roy joined his first band with school friends and frequently played a hotspot in the area called “The Wedge in Collinsville, IL. Roy met blind guitar genius Ace Wallace in St. Louis in the early 1960’s. Roy soaked up all that Ace Wallace could teach him. This gave him opportunity to play more of the St. Louis area clubs. He had the opportunity at that time to play with such musical R&B greats as Ike and Tina Turner. Roy met John Hartford when he was working for radio station KSTL in St. Louis around that same timeframe. Roy’s first recording was by a group called The Galaxy’s for a song called “Listen to Me Cry/We’ll Have Soul” in 1965.
In 1966, he married Janet Hall Horstmeyer and had two children. Sebrina Horstmeyer Lyle born in 1968 and John Horstmeyer born in 1971. He currently has four grandchildren as well. Thomas August Reber, Shelby Reber, Zane August Horstmeyer, and Zachary Horstmeyer.
In his early adulthood, Roy met Chris Chawn. He and Chris would form a musical friendship that would last for many years until Chris’ death of cancer in 1989. Chris and Roy recorded, wrote, and toured together in the early 1960’s. They toured all over the United States. They started Craneo Records and Cerveza Music together. Chris was a dynamic vocalist. Just to name two, “Give Her Back to Me” and “Tijuana Woman” were recordings they did together on their record label.
Some of Roy’s first influences, in addition to obvious family connections to music, were Roy Orbison, The Four Seasons, Bobby Vee, and Hank Williams, The Beach Boys, The Beatles.
Roy came to Nashville in 1969 after invitation from friend and co-writer Jimmy Helms. Jimmy wrote with The Wilburn Brothers. Before meeting The Wilburns, Roy met Chuck Glaser who also became a great friend and writing influence. Chuck taught Roy how to construct his songs.
When Roy met The Wilburns, they became huge mentors and teachers for his writing and music. They helped him secure a day job, helped him learn about the business, introduced him to influential people in Nashville, and even made him a key to their office so he could sleep on their sofa if needed. Roy met many notable entertainers in that time. Loretta Lynn was a frequent Wilburn Brothers visitor. Roy once shared a dressing room with the legendary Charlie Pride. He played a show with The Mandrels in the early 1970’s. While continuously learning about the Nashville music scene he played live, wrote songs, and walked the streets of Nashville meeting and pushing his music as much as he could. Always driven, and refusing to give up, he did this while working a full time job and raising a young family.
In the early 1970’s, Roy met young Jimmy Hinson, who later would come to call himself Jimbeau Hinson. They wrote a few songs together. Most notably, “I’m Settin’ Fancy Free” however, also a few others. Two were entitled “Leave Me or Love Me Alone” and “Life in Baltimore.” “Leave Me or Love Me Alone” was recorded and performed live on The Wilburn Brother’s television show in the early 1970’s by the Dean Miller Trio.
In 1981, the Oak Ridge Boys cut their album titled Fancy Free.
Roy’s song was chosen to be the title cut for the album. This came at a time when Roy was truly soul searching and deciding whether to pack up and leave Music City and “give up.” However, with the unexpected blessing of getting word that The Oak Ridge Boys had cut his song, he decided to stay and Nashville has been home ever since.
With 11,000+ songs written, Roy has had around 700 cuts. Many have Indie Hits by many different artists and charting worldwide in various genres. by various recording artists both independent and of national/international acclaim, and is an accomplished musician in his own right with a reputation for being quite an exceptional musician on the bass guitar. Foreign language versions of “I’m Settin’ Fancy Free” have been recorded in such places as Germany. Roy has had singles chart overseas in which he himself is the vocalist. He has also had cuts by the great T. Graham Brown, T. Jae Christian, and others in a variety of genres. He is a staff writer for Sure Fire Music, which is still in the Wilburn family today. He is member of several publishing companies, music organizations, writing groups, and clubs. There is such a vast list of folks he gives thanks and credit to that listing them all would be a difficult task to undertake.
Over the years, Roy has made appearances on award shows, television programs, and frequent radio shows. The Oak Ridge Boy’s album Fancy Free is part of the Country Music Hall of Fame today. Roy continues to write, record, and play live in venues hosting writers nights/guest appearances, radio shows, etc. and has no plans to retire.
Remaining ever humble, he is always willing to help aspiring musicians and songwriters with his vast knowledge and experiences. His door is open and he welcomes those seeking advice from his many experiences over the years.
Music is to Roy’s soul as oxygen is to his lungs. It is part of who he is. Looking behind him, and looking ahead- music was, is, and will continue to be a part of the August family legacy. He looks ahead to the next generation and that musical torch being passed on to his grandsons Zane August (a fantastic drummer) and Thomas August (songwriter, multi instrumental) for the next hundred years.
Roy is now 70 years old, and still writes several songs “per day.” He finds hook lines in conversations, on internet chats, within life lived.
Yes, music has been a part of Roy Augusts’ entire life. Arguably, before he was even born, music inevitably entwined within his DNA.
I can honestly say that “The Man Behind the Songs” is a wonderful one both in the professional realm and one I am proud to call my father in the personal realm.
Biography of Roy August by Sebrina Horstmeyer Lyle
Comment below and become part of “A Living Biography of Roy August”
Are you one of the 700?
With 11,000+ songs written, Roy has had around 700 cuts. Many are Indie Hits by many different artists and charting worldwide in various genres. Sung by various recording artists both independent and of national/international acclaim… Share your song written with Roy August, and let us know … where did you link up with Roy, how did you come to write a song, what wisdom did Roy leave you and what happened with the song … Share your experience and song on this Living Biography for Roy August!
and let us know …
- where did you hook up with Roy,
- how did you come to write a song,
- what wisdom did Roy leave you and
- what happened with the song …
- Is the song on the internet? Give us a link!
“(I’m Settin’) Fancy Free” (sometimes known as “I’m Setting Fancy Free” or simply “Fancy Free“) is the title song written by Roy August and Jimbeau Hinson, and recorded by American country music group The Oak Ridge Boys. It was released in August 1981 as the second single from the album Fancy Free. The song reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart in November 1981, during The Oak Ridge Boys’ peak of popularity, and it is considered one of their signature songs.
2010 – Roy August, co-writer of the Oaks’ single Fancy Free (co-written by Jimbeau Hinson), received a “two million spins” award from BMI. As of July 2010, the song had been broadcast over 116,600 hours, equating to more than 13 years of continuous airplay. Oak Ridge Boys
”Give Me A Break” Radio Hour Podcast is supported by donations from listeners like you! … Please Click the PayPal Donate button to help keep great programming free for all to enjoy.
Share the Love!
Open Door Productions’
Cyber Studio For Songwriters … to help you and all others who love songwriting.