The historic Cheatham Street Warehouse in San Marcos, Texas, this week came under new ownership — Randy Rogers of the Randy Rogers Band.
His business partner is the Austin-based event production company KRR Entertainment, which co-founded Austin’s Lone Star Jam and produces events at the Nutty Brown Amphitheatre.
The legendary venue will undergo a few cosmetic changes and updates, but the primary goal is to maintain the character Cheatham fans have come to love and continue the legacy of its original owner and songwriter, the late Kent Finlay. The sellers are his children, Jenni, Sterling and HalleyAnna.
Finlay founded Cheatham Street in 1974 and since then it has served as a bedrock for some the most iconic careers in American music.
In 1975, George Strait made his debut at the venue. Guy Clark once sat in with Townes Van Zandt. In 1980, Stevie Ray Vaughan had a regular Tuesday night gig, and musicians Charlie and Will Sexton, then 12 and 10, respectively, would open for Vaughan and sometimes join him onstage. There was a time when each Strait and Vaughan played one night a week at the venue.
In 2000, Rogers was a mass marketing student at the local Southwest Texas State University and got his start in the world of songwriting performing Cheatham Street’s weekly open songwriter nights on Wednesdays.
It was also those nights that spawned his relationship with Finlay. Over the course of their 15-plus-year friendship, Finlay would serve as a mentor, a songwriting partner, a life-coach, a sounding board and sometimes even a critic for Rogers both personally and professionally.
Rogers met and formed Randy Rogers Band at Cheatham Street, and when they signed their first major label deal years later, they did it there, with Finlay by their sides as a nod to him and “where they came from.”
“I still get butterflies when I step on that stage,” Rogers said in a release. “I’m going to make sure other songwriters and musicians young and old get to experience that same feeling for many years to come. That’s my goal.”
The title of the latest Randy Rogers Band album, Nothing Shines Like Neon, is a tribute to one of Finlay’s original songs.