Cheatham Street Warehouse Owner Kent Finlay Dies at 77
Kent Finlay, a voice for Texas Music and owner of the famed Cheatham Street Warehouse where many artists got their start, died on Monday. He was 77.
Finlay has often been seen as one of Texas Music's best friends and premier mentors to songwriters and bands alike. His songwriter's circle on Wednesday nights has a staple at Cheatham Street Warehouse for decades.
On behalf of the Cheatham Street Warehouse Family, it is with the deepest sorrow that we announce the passing of Kent Finlay in the early morning Monday, March 2. Kent was surrounded by family and friends telling stories and swapping songs when he passed.
Kent was the longtime owner of Cheatham Street Warehouse, the legendary San Marcos-based venue known best for the songwriter circle he hosted Wednesday nights. Kent was a dedicated songwriter, mentor to hundreds of others and perhaps most importantly a dreamer. Kent's limitless passion for music and songwriting inspired him to create Cheatham Street Warehouse, a launching pad for countless young artists. His inspiration, talent, humor and guidance truly will be missed.
Jenni, Sterling, HalleyAnna and the rest of the entire Cheatham Street Family wish to thank you for your thoughts, prayers and support during this time.
Plans for a memorial service are still pending at this time and will be announced as soon as details emerge.
In lieu of flowers, donation can be made to the Cheatham Street Music Foundation. www.CheathamStreetFoundation.org.
Finlay helped launch the careers for many famed artists, including Stevie Ray Vaughan and George Strait, among others. He was a songwriting mentor to many, having co-written songs with names such as Randy Rogers, William Clark Green, Slaid Cleaves and Walt Wilkins.
"Country music — and just music in general really — lost a great friend today," George Strait said in a statement. "His legend will live forever in Texas, though. We’ll never forget our friend Kent Finlay. Sad day."
Strait played his first-ever show at Cheatham Street with his Ace in the Hole Band on Oct. 13, 1975.
Superstar after superstar has graced the stage at Cheatham Street Warehouse, the famous venue by the railroad tracks in San Marcos. Willie Nelson, Guy Clark, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Townes Van Zandt and nearly every Texas country star has graced Cheatham Street.
Music artists poured out their thoughts and memories about Finlay on social media Monday:
Every week for his songwriter's circle, Finlay would open the night with his own tune, "I’ll Sing You a Story, I’ll Tell You a Song.”
When he handed out business cards, it read simply "Kent Finlay: Dreamer."
And he died on Texas Independence Day. "You know he would have loved that," his daughter, Jenni, said.
You can't make up stories like that. It'll probably even make a great song.