Such sad news for the music scene in Texas this morning as we hear of the passing of Kent Finlay.
For those of you that don’t know, Kent Finlay is an iconic songwriter/singer but is also most notably known for opening the doors of Cheatham Street Warehouse in June of 1974 as a music hall. He said he opened it to develop, perpetuate and promote Texas music in its most natural state – the honky-tonk. During the last three decades, Kent has earned quite a track record for developing new writers and artists, and we are proud of the wealth of talent that has walked through the door and up onto the stage of this rustic old building.
Per his bio on Lonestarmusic.com, George Strait and Ace in the Hole played their first 50 or 60 gigs on this very stage. “Little” Charlie Sexton and his younger brother, Will opened every Tuesday night for a very young Stevie Vaughan – even before he started billing his name with the “Ray”. in the middle… Lucky Cheatham Street veterans remember lots of Texas summer nights – filled with magic and music – Jerry Jeff Walker and Willie Nelson, Flaco Jiminez and Marcia Ball, Doug Sahm and Augie Meyer, Gatemouth Brown and Eric Johnson… the list goes on and on.
As Wade Bowen said this morning upon hearing of the sad news: “Hurts this morning to hear about Kent Finlay passing away. He was a good man for so many reasons. His gentle smile always made me feel at ease and it created many late night Cheatham Street conversations about songwriting, life…whatever came up. I always looked forward to playing there just to catch up with him and I always wanted to make a good impression on him with my music. It was rough the last few times through stepping on that stage and not having him there.
He loved songs and songwriters and there are a countless number of them that owe him everything. He pushed kids to be their best. I love hearing Randy Rogers talk of the early days when he was trying to figure it all out. His one comrade and mentor was Kent. And I know we will never stop talking about him. Ever.
Kent, you will be missed no doubt. But I feel you know you left a mark and did what you were called to do on this earth. It will be tough to find a sweeter, kinder man, as long as I live. We love you and will do our best to continue to carry the torch I know you held so dear!”
Prayers with the Finlay family and all of his friends!