Kent Finlay at Cheatham Street, sometime in 2006.
I don't spend a lot of time on Facebook these days, unless it's checking the Aggie 96 page, so I often miss a lot of updates. If it's not right there at the top of the feed when I first login I'm not going to see it. Today, one of those posts that happened to be at the top concerned Kent Finlay. I consider Kent a mentor even though I never once picked up a guitar and participated in his famed Wednesday Night Songwriter night (the only time I stepped on the stage at Cheatham Street was to nab a set list).
My first trip to Cheatham Street was the fall of 2005 for the Randy Rogers Band's anniversary show. I can guarantee that during my time in San Marcos I spent way more nights in that smoky bar learning about music than I did studying in the library. During that time, Kent and I would talk bands and he would ask me what I thought about that night's show or who I was seeing at other places that should be playing at Cheatham Street. I even took his History of Country Music class one semester (walked away with a well earned A). My friends and I were dubbed by Kent the "Cheatham Chicks" since we would put up show posters and pass out flyers around town and on campus so we could get into the shows. To say that I hold Kent and Cheatham Street in high esteem is an understatement.
That gets me to the FB post earlier today. It seems that Kent has been diagnosed with a relapse of multiple myeloma (he had fought that same cancer back in 2003). Owning a music venue and working as a singer/songwriter isn't exactly the type of job that comes with great insurance and fighting cancer is extremely expensive. The silver lining is since Kent and his family has battled this once already, they know what they can expect. So they've set up a fundraiser page, and of course the music community is rallying behind this legend (many of them have Kent to thank for pushing them along in their careers). Todd Snider has already recorded a tribute album that should be released soon featuring some pretty cool collaborations. If you're a fan of George Strait or Randy Rogers, you wouldn't even have the opportunity to hear them if it wasn't for Kent. Same with so many other singer/songwriters (like the infamous class of '87). So, consider contributing to the medical fund. You can find more information on it HERE.