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{Off The Cuff} Cheatham Street Foundation

by:  Angie McClure

You might know me, or you might know Cheatham Street Warehouse, the little music hall that Kent Finlay started more than 30 years ago in San Marcos, Texas. You might also know some of the songwriters and musicians who got their start at Cheatham Street: George Strait, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Charlie and Will Sexton, Todd Snider, Bruce Robison, Terri Hendrix, Randy Rogers Band, and so many more great artists.

Maybe you got to be there to hear Eric Johnson, Monte Montgomery, James McMurtry, Asleep at the Wheel, or Joe Ely learning their chops. Perhaps you heard Willie, or Jerry Jeff, or Billy Joe, or Steve Earle, or Townes, or Shake and Dana, or Delbert, or Hal Ketchum, or Gatemouth. There have been so many — and there are so many yet to come. Kent and his crew are still going strong there in San Marcos, and the current crop of regulars at the Wednesday night Songwriters’ Circle includes some really talented people that I think you’re going to hear a lot about in the future.

Kent has done a lot for songwriters like me over the years, and I’m writing to ask you to help me give something back to Cheatham Street.

I was surprised to find this out, but while Kent has owned the business of Cheatham Street Warehouse, he’s never owned the property or the building. For decades, the owners wouldn’t sell … then when an illness forced them to make a quick sale a few years back, the property was almost purchased by someone who wanted to tear down the Warehouse and build a strip mall shopping center. Luckily, Gregg Andrews, of Dr. G and the Mudcats, and his wife Vikki bought the Warehouse property and saved the day! In the meantime, Kent formed the Cheatham Street Music Foundation with the plan to buy the property from Gregg and Vikki as soon as possible. A few years ago, Kent was diagnosed with cancer, and while he’s doing fine now, I think that was a real wake-up call. He wants Cheatham Street to not be dependent on him, but to carry on forever, and the Foundation is the perfect way to make that happen.

The Foundation has a website that explains all of their plans for carrying on Kent’s legacy of promoting and developing Texas songwriters — you can check it out at Cheatham Street Foundation.org — but right now they have a big goal, and this is where I need your help. Gregg’s retiring and moving home to Missouri, and he needs to sell the Warehouse property to the Foundation this spring, by June 2009. The Foundation has been raising money for the past couple of years, but it’s not enough. They need to raise about $182,000 to buy the property and then another $250,000 or so to make some much-needed and very serious structural repairs, fix the roof, and replace the handicap ramp.

I know that everyone’s been affected financially by the state of our economy, and this is a hard time to have to go out and raise money. That’s why it’s so important that we get the word out about Cheatham Street and round up support from as many people as possible.

If you can join me and make a donation to the Cheatham Street Music Foundation, please click here today!

You can also send your gift to Cheatham Street Music Foundation, 119 Cheatham Street, San Marcos, TX 78666. No amount is too small! It all makes a difference. And whether you can help with a financial gift or not, please help me spread the word by forwarding this to everyone you know who loves Texas music and values the art of songwriting.

Thanks for supporting Cheatham Street Warehouse for the past 30 years! Let’s keep it going for many more years to come.

Angie McClure is a singer/songwriter who has paid her share of dues at the altar of Cheatham Street Warehouse. She’s also tended bar and help run sound. Basically, you name it and she’s done it at CSW. She is part of the late 90’s/early 00’s Cheatham family of songwriters that includes Randy Rogers, Ryan Turner, Mark Sanders, Brandon Wayne Jones, Micah Harris and HalleyAnna Finlay among others.

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