Rising Star: Christian Wallace

Honors graduate found thesis inspiration ‘beyond the tracks’

By Billi London-Gray

Christian Wallace came to Texas State University for two things: an education and an experience. As a fresh graduate, he’s already produced work that proves his attainment of both.

The gifted young writer just graduated Summa Cum Laude from the university with a double major in English and history. His Honors program thesis project, like his decision to come to Texas State, centered on one of his favorite places: Cheatham Street Warehouse.

“My first trip to San Marcos was to see a show at Cheatham Street Warehouse,” Wallace says. He and a friend drove seven hours from his hometown of Andrews, Texas, near the New Mexico border, to watch singer/songwriter Adam Carroll perform. “My parents taught me to pursue what you love and the rest will work itself out. The experience I had at Cheatham Street is one of the main reasons I became a Bobcat.”

Throughout his years in what he describes as the “genuine paradise” of San Marcos, Wallace spend many hours at Cheatham Street, listening to music, talking about music, writing songs and enjoying the company of the venue’s long-time owner Kent Finlay. In the course of his studies at Texas State, Wallace also had Finlay for a professor. It is a relationship that has changed his life.

“Finlay’s class, History of Country Music, and Dr. Gary Hartman’s class, Texas Music History, both legitimized and gave me a profound appreciation for the academic study of music’s historical and cultural significance,” Wallace says.

Involved in activities ranging from serving as student coordinator for the ongoing Common Experience events to studying abroad in England to writing for the University Star and the English Department’s literary journal, Persona, Wallace was also continuously interested in music. He was nurtured as a songwriter by Finlay, and even placed in the top student songwriters at the Kerrville Folk Festival in 2009.

Writing about Cheatham Street and his mentor Kent Finlay was an obvious choice for Wallace when it came time to define his thesis.

“Cheatham Street is an extremely important place, not only in the annals of country music, but to the history of Texas,” Wallace says. “With so many great people associated with Cheatham Street over the years, I felt compelled to present a thesis which appropriately conveyed the rich legacy of the warehouse. Also, Kent Finlay has dedicated the majority of his life to promoting Texas music and supporting fledgling songwriters, I wanted to give something back to him for his years of selfless work.”

Wallace’s thesis is titled “Beyond the Tracks: A History of Cheatham Street Warehouse.” Read excerpts of the thesis through the links below, or contact Wallace at cw1388@txstate.edu.

Cheatham Street Warehouse: Part 1
Cheatham Street Warehouse: Part 2
Cheatham Street Warehouse: Part 3

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