‘FROM LUCKENBACH TO CHEATHAM STREET: A FUNDRAISER FOR KENT FINLAY’ TO BE HELD MARCH 30 IN LUCKENBACH, TEXAS
Ray Benson, Cody Canada, Bruce Robison and several others gather to raise funds for legendary Cheatham Street Warehouse owner’s steep medical bills
LUCKENBACH, TX – Kent Finlay’s skyrocketed aspiring artists for four decades now. You might recognize some names: George Strait. Stevie Ray Vaughan. Todd Snider. Randy Rogers, Eric Johnson. The list literally goes on forever. All unmatched talents with one common thread: Finlay launched their careers from the stage at his legendary Cheatham Street Warehouse in San Marcos, Texas.
Now, Finlay’s friends and former students give back. Ray Benson, Cody Canada, Bruce Robison and several other noted songwriters will join together for “From Luckenbach to Cheatham Street, Ain’t Nobody Feelin’ No Pain: A Fundraiser for Kent Finlay’s Medical Fund.” (All proceeds will be donated to the medical fund for Finlay, who was recently diagnosed with a relapse of bone marrow cancer.)
Finlay, a sharp songwriter in his own right and the most respected lyrical editor in Texas bar none, makes no bones. Cheatham Street Warehouse has always existed for creation. Songs begin on Cheatham’s stage. They grow. Breathe. Live. Grow some more. Finally they mature into shape. His songwriters night nurtures singular songwriters and storytellers with stunning frequency. Take the Class of 1987.
“That was the most exciting year,” Finlay says. “The regulars at songwriters night were me and a bunch of nobodies: Todd Snider, James McMurtry, Terri Hendrix, Bruce Robison, Hal Ketchum, John Arthur Martinez and sometimes Tish Hinojosa, who would come with James from San Antonio. Those were the basic regulars. Nobody had every heard of them.” Those young writers understood the gig’s value.
“Cheatham Street would let me play my songs,” McMurtry says. “That took balls back then.” Others echo the sentiment. “Cheatham was the first place to hire me, and Kent was the first person to tell me I was good enough at songwriting to go for a living at it,” Snider says. “He played me my first John Prine, Kris Kristofferson, Bobby Bare and Bob Dylan records.” “Kent let me play numerous shows where I know he lost money,” Austin’s Graham Weber says. “Then he booked me with much better songwriters and encouraged and supported me more than most people ever did.”