My Little Red Book
Kent Finlay, Dreamer: The Musical Legacy Behind Cheatham Street Warehouse
Brian T. Atkinson & Jenni Finlay
Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., June 17, 2016
Difficult to gauge Kent Finlay's impact on Texas music before his death last year at 77. He was an accomplished singer-songwriter ("They Call It the Hill Country," "I'll Sing You a Story, I'll Tell You a Song"), but more so he helped usher several generations of Texas talent with his keen ear, warm insight, and unwavering support through his seminal San Marcos haven, Cheatham Street Warehouse. Rather than formal biography, the first half of Dreamer offers interviews with Finlay as transcribed by his daughter, local PR maven Jenni Finlay, while the second presents appreciations from over 40 artists, including Ray Wylie Hubbard, James McMurtry, Todd Snider, and George Strait. Charmingly personal, the first 100 pages meander with little focus. The testimonials likewise play like a memorial wake, often touching even if manifesting an overall disjointed chorus. Dreamer reads as raw text that will hopefully provide valuable material when Texas' songwriting history, and Finlay's role in it, is written.
Kent Finlay, Dreamer: The Musical Legacy Behind Cheatham Street Warehouseby Brian T. Atkinson & Jenni Finlay
Texas A&M University Press, 280 pp., $25.95