Tag Archives: Cheatham Street Warehouse

Alumni: Bobcats Who Rock

Texas State alumni are making a bang on the national stage

By Callie Gordon ’12

One of Texas State’s biggest points of pride is the diversity exhibited throughout our university. Our student body represents countries from around globe, and we have recently been recognized as a Hispanic Serving Institution.

Whether students come here to pursue success in the business and technology, to mold young minds as teachers, or to discover solutions to global problems, Texas State gives students the tools and knowledge they need to chase their biggest dreams. For some students, this dream involves taking center stage, performing for thousands, mic in hand. Here’s a list of alumni who have made it as professional musicians: Continue reading

Alumni: Curtis Grimes

From Texas State to Hollywood Hills, Grimes’ talent resonates with ‘Voice’

By Catherine Harper

Texas State alumnus and country singer Curtis Grimes got his start on NBC's "The Voice."

Texas State University alumnus Curtis Grimes could not have imagined that one call would change his life in January 2011. After auditioning earlier that month for NBC’s “The Voice” — a singing competition moderated by celebrity judges — Grimes’ country stylings hit the mark with producers and he was on his way to stardom.

“They reached out to me at first with an e-mail saying they’d like me to audition after they’d seen some of my shows on YouTube,” Grimes says. “The whole experience was awesome.”

After flying to Hollywood, Grimes worked with music coach Cee Lo Green each week of auditions, making it to the quarter-finals on the show. His success with the singing competition has awarded him national exposure, with his new album Doin’ My Time hitting the Top Texas 15 and his new single “Irresponsible” on airwaves last month.

Before his singing success, Grimes was immersed not in music but in baseball as a pitcher at Centenary College in Shreveport, La. After transferring to Texas State in 2005, however, Grimes struck a chord with the music scene in San Marcos.

“Texas State definitely influenced me music-wise, since the country scene is so strong down there,” Grimes says, speaking from his tour stop in West Texas. “It’s kind of a central hub of country music. There were artists like Randy Rogers and Ryan Turner coming from there, so it’s where I found a lot of my influences.”

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Alumni: Victor Holk

Putting the ‘I can’ into Americana:
Holk builds musical momentum
with album of protest songs

By Billi London-Gray

Victor Holk performing at Wittliff Collections

Victor Holk performed protest songs from his honors thesis project at Texas State University in April. He's releasing the songs as an album tomorrow.

With the understated grace that marks many folk musicians, Victor Holk introduced his honors thesis to a roomful of Texas State professors and fellow Honors Program students this past spring: “I’d like to play some protest songs for you.”

His thesis — a wide-ranging study of protest songs including the now-iconic standards of Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger and others as well as Holk’s own compositions — culminated in a 30-minute solo performance and discussion of the songs and their role in society. He also announced that he planned to complete a recorded collection of the songs.

Since graduating in May with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, Holk has transitioned from university life to the full-time pursuit of his passion for music. He will release his promised album of protest songs, With Words as Strong as Warriors, at a performance tonight, Nov. 11, at Triple Crown in San Marcos. Continue reading

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.

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Cheatham Street Warehouse: Part 3

Texas State alum, professor is ‘Godfather of Texas Songwriters’

By Christian Wallace ‘10

Kent Finlay, the owner of Cheatham Street Warehouse and “Godfather of Texas Songwriters,” was born in Brady, Texas in 1938. The oldest of James and Grace Short Finlay’s five children, he was raised on a farm north of Brady in McCulloch County near the small community known as Fife.

Music was an integral part of Finlay’s upbringing. His earliest memories of music are, as a three-year old, listening to KNEL, a 250-watt radio station out of Brady. The Finlay home was often filled with the music of relatives, who played in bands throughout the area. Music was a staple of family gatherings and was the main event of many nights spent under the West Texas stars.

At the conclusion of a vacation bible school one summer, the seven-year old Finlay, along with three other boys, performed the traditional gospel song, “Do Lord,” to a whopping crowd of seven or eight people. It was after this performance that the music bug bit him.

“People said it was good, and, man, I was hooked,” Finlay recalls.
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Cheatham Street Warehouse: Part 2

San Marcos venue launched many Texas stars to national fame

By Christian Wallace ‘10

At the time of Cheatham Street’s opening in 1974, a certain musical phenomenon was taking place throughout the Central Texas area. In the early 1970s, Austin became the epicenter of what would later be called the Progressive Country movement.

This movement was the result of a unique blending of various genres including rock’n’roll, traditional country, R&B, blues, zydeco and others. The musicians and fans promoting Progressive Country were equally eclectic – hippies, cowboys, bikers and students – coming together at such venues as the Broken Spoke, the Split Rail, Soap Creek Saloon, Threadgill’s, the Skyline Club, Antone’s and the Armadillo World Headquarters.

With such an atmosphere of excitement and unique music existing only 25 miles up the interstate from San Marcos, it took no time for Kent Finlay, the owner of Cheatham Street, to start booking the area’s top acts. The artists who played his little stage during the 1970s reads like a list of Progressive Country all-stars: Willie Nelson, Ernest Tubb, Billy Joe Shaver, Guy Clark, Flaco Jiménez, Gatemouth Brown, Jerry Jeff Walker, Kinky Friedman, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Joe Ely, Townes Van Zandt, Dough Sahm, Augie Meyers, Joe Bob’s Bar and Grill Band, Ponty Bone, Joe “King” Carrasco and many others.

Among the bands playing at Cheatham Street during the peak of the Progressive Country era was the Ace in the Hole Band. The band’s lead singer was a Southwest Texas student named George Strait. Continue reading

Cheatham Street Warehouse: Part 1

San Marcos venue’s roots go deep into Texas music history

By Christian Wallace ‘10

Photo courtesy Cheatham Street Warehouse

Since its opening in 1974 by Kent Finlay, the “Godfather of Texas Songwriters,” Cheatham Street Warehouse has been an ideal place to watch the history of Texas music evolve. Within those tin walls, history is made nightly on the well-worn stage and also in the crowd where artists both famous and unknown mingle while drinking beer from mason jars.

George Strait and the Ace in the Hole Band had their first gig ever in the venue and continued to play weekly until Finlay and Strait took an old van to Nashville to find a record deal (more on that story later). A young guitarist, Stevie Vaughan, used to play the blues in Cheatham before he became internationally renowned as Stevie Ray Vaughan. Other artists such as, Charlie Sexton, Bruce Robinson, Todd Snider, Teri Hendrix and Randy Rogers grew their musical abilities in the fertile soil of the Cheatham Street stage. Continue reading